The changed fortunes of India’s ground fielding
Updated - Mar 4, 2015 6:19 pm
The changed fortunes of India’s ground fielding: The Indian cricket team has changed, the change has come in the form of the confidence to back themselves, the ability to anticipate and this team acts better in situations when they are subjected to pressure.
In the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, India is right at the top of the table, with 6 points after 3 matches and outright wins in all the games has ensured them a really healthy net run rate as well. New Zealand is the only other team in the tournament which has done equally well. And we will have to wait for the two teams to actually clash to know who is better.
For India the difference can be seen on the field; no doubt the youngsters are a far superior crop of fielders and almost the best that we have seen in Indian cricket. Making brilliant saves in the in-field, long chases on the fence, strong throwing arm and catch conversion rate have all gone up many folds in the last couple of years.
It has multiple reasons, the players who are playing today are from the culture where diving to stop the ball is a common practice, they have learned it the technical way. The stamina looks high even while fielding in the final over’s of the match.
Management, coaches and players have better equipped themselves using modern performance endurance guides, be it the stamina mask or the routine training schedule. Now the fielding aspect is given equal importance, and this translates as we see Indian fielders throw themselves to grab the ball and more often than not the best batsmen in international cricket today find it difficult to pierce the Indian in-field.
The bowlers get a boost, when an odd ball with additional width is hit hard by the batsman, ideally it should have gone for a boundary but with exceptional fielders anticipating the trajectory of the ball those runs are saved.
MS Dhoni has always been an advocate of quick, fresh and young legs on the field and he has them at his disposal today. No doubt the captain is elated and is full of praises for his fielders who have not only affected important run-outs but also slashed the target by 15 or 20 runs.
The Indian skipper acknowledged this fact and said, “What we know is that we can add minimum 10 to 15 runs to whatever we score with the kind of fielders that we have got,”
“There may be one fielder or two slightly slower than the others, but by no means are we bad fielders. I think we have got some excellent fielders, and apart from that we have got fast bowlers who are above average fielders.”
Gone are the days when bowlers were liabilities on the field, Dhoni has translated Ashwin into a good slip catcher, Jadeja has always been one of India’s best fielding options. The fast bowlers are too giving it their all, diving to save the ball and using their strong arms to shoot quick and accurate throws.
This has gone on to ease the thinking the management had to put in for field placements and now all the fielders are super flexible and good enough to guard any and every part of the ground.
Captain cool who is also the captain relaxed now said, “That actually eases the pressure on me.”
“Overall I’ve got plenty to play with. I don’t always have to think about which player needs to go where, “I have time to think more about the strategies rather than trying to use four or five good fielders and seeing what’s really needed, whether I need to stop the singles or I need boundary riders who can stop the twos and the threes.
They have already made an impact with dismissing two of the best South Africans with their striking throws; opponents in important clashes now will not only have to watch for India’s batting and the bowling but be vary of them on the field as well. The gaps which were runs leaking hole earlier are sealed and so is the deal.