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Glenn Maxwell and Axar Patel have the best boundary awareness: R Sridhar

Sridhar rated Ishant as a very safe fielder and mentioned that Saha as a very obedient student.

R Sridhar
R Sridhar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Fielding has been an essential part of cricket and has improved a lot in the last decade. With the advent of T20, fielders are now innovating further by some mind-boggling boundary riding. R Sridhar is the fielding coach of the Indian team as well as the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.

The batsmen and bowlers certainly need to change a lot while switching formats and the fielding expert said that the preparations for the on-field work changes as well with the format. According to him the limited-overs drills are more or less the same but change drastically in Test cricket.

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“The regular high catches and the throws inside the 30-yard circle are the drills which we do across all formats. The focus ahead of Test matches is more on close-in catching, while the emphasis is primarily on boundary-catching when it comes to preparation for shorter formats,” the 46-year-old told TOI.

Nobody once thought that fielding will be one of the most significant aspects in limited-overs cricket one day. Cricketers like Suresh Raina and Mohammad Kaif made it to the national team because of their exceptional fielding skills. Sridhar feels that fielding is all about great boundary awareness and athleticism.

“You may be highly skillful as a player, but if you are not a good athlete — then you end up being an average fielder. On the contrary, if you are a good athlete and work on your fielding, then it will do wonders for you on the field,” Sridhar pointed out.

The game has been innovating every year. Lately, the LED stumps came into the picture along with the LED advertising boards across the boundary ropes. These innovations are a cause of distraction for the fielders the fielding coach thinks.

“It is an uncontrollable element of the game. For a fast bowler to attempt a caught-and-bowled chance — with LED lights shining on the sight screen behind the batsman — is a big challenge. You have to get used to it. Now, we see tens of thousands of people in the stadium flashing those torchlights on their mobile phones which is also a hindrance for fielders,” Sridhar said.

He made special mention on the fielding abilities of Glenn Maxwell and Axar Patel. Both have great boundary awareness remarked Sridhar. He was also full of praise for Ishant Sharma; who puts a lot of effort during the fielding drills.

“Ishant is a tall man and you may feel he takes time to go down to field, but he is one of the safest fielders. In my three-and-half years with the Indian team, I have seen Ishant drop only one catch. If my memory serves me right, then it must have been in Brisbane last year during the Australia series. He has a good pair of hands and is someone who is a safe boundary rider,” Sridhar pointed out.

Wriddhiman Saha has kept well for Team India in Test cricket ever since MS Dhoni walked away from the longest form of the game. His gathering and side-ways movement have been exceptional as he has held onto some blinders.

Sridhar spoke highly of the 32-year-old saying that he has a great work ethic which makes everyone admire the Bengali boy.

“Saha works extremely hard on his keeping skills and sticks to what works for him. He is a great athlete and that allows him to react quickly, cover the ground and take those wonderful efforts behind the stumps. He does loads of practice and is supremely dedicated to his craft. Saha is like an obedient student in the class whom every teacher loves,” Sridhar said.

Punjab will now host defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday in a day-night game at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

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