In cricket, every run saved is equivalent to a run scored. While this saying might sound cliched, in modern-day sport, it holds the highest degree of importance. In the last few years, every team playing at the highest level has put in significant efforts to improve the fielding standards. We’ve been lucky to witness some of the best spectacles on the field in recent times. There are several new drills and practices that are being deployed to improve the agility, reflexes, catching amongst various other elements.
To achieve the right kind of results, there has been a great emphasis on fielding coaches. Through their innovations and experience, they work on developing a team overall on the field. Team India has been lucky in this aspect courtesy some of the best support staff. The standards have improved massively and they are setting goals for the other teams to follow. However, it is that time again when the BCCI has got to pick a new personage for the job. Various successful coaches have applied for the job and here are five of those who can take up the role soon.
Five cricketers who can be the fielding coach for Team India:
1. Abhay Sharma
Abhay Sharma. (Photo Source: Facebook)
For those of you who don’t know, Abhay Sharma is one of the most reputed coaches in Indian domestic circles. He has played 89 first-class matches and scored over 4,000 runs. Sharma holds a rare distinction of pursuing a coaching course in batting, fielding and wicket-keeping. A wicket-keeper himself during his playing days, he clearly understands the demands of the job and is one of the front-runners for the position.
Abhay has got the experience of coaching the Railways team and the Himachal Pradesh team in the Ranji Trophy. Moreover, he has been associated with the India-A and India U19 teams for quite a while now. The young crop of cricketers who are raising up the ranks have all been groomed by the 50-year-old and have shown great results. The former Delhi cricketer was the fielding coach when India won the U19 World Cup in 2018.
He has got unique techniques that meet the demands of the modern-day game. Moreover, he has worked with the likes of KS Bharat, Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant amongst many others helping them with their wicket-keeping. With India in the process of grooming Pant for the future, Abhay Sharma is the right man to train him with the techniques behind the stumps. Recently, he was also in England for the U19 tri-series which India won. The young crop of cricketers has displayed terrific skill on the field during this tour.
2. Jonty Rhodes
Jonty Rhodes of MI. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The former South African cricketer is known to be one of the best in the business. Jonty Rhodes announced himself on the scene when he flung in the air and dislodged the stumps to dismiss Inzamam-ul-Haq in the 1992 World Cup. With his emergence, he changed the complexion of the importance of fielding in world cricket overall. At backward point, he was nearly an unbreachable wall and was a delight to watch.
Much of his agility can be attributed to him playing hockey during his younger days. He represented South Africa in nearly 300 international games but his career had to be cut short due to a fracture on his finger in 2003. Post his retirement, Jonty Rhodes took massive strides in establishing himself as a good fielding coach.
He was earlier associated with the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians (MI) as well and has done a great job back then. Jonty is a strong contender for the position given his skill and expertise. Moreover, he shares a good rapport with many of the Indian players.
3. Robin Singh
Robin Singh. (Photo by Nagesh Ohal/The India Today Group via Getty Images)
Rabindra Ramanarayan Singh, a.k.a. Robin Singh represented India in 136 ODIs and 1 Test match. The former all-rounder is known for his athletism, commitment and tenacity. He was handy with the bat and bowled useful medium-pace with some good cutters. But it was his fielding efforts that managed to get better recognition and put the limelight on him.
At the point and cover regions, he was brilliant stopping a few balls which had ‘boundary’ written all over it. He took some wonderful catches in this region and was a great act. After retiring from the sport in 2004, he embarked on his coaching career and began with the junior teams first. He quickly escalated up the ranks and was also appointed India’s fielding coach in 2007. He held the job until 2009 but the team’s failures in the two of the major ICC events in this period cost him his role.
Robin Singh has also got the experience of working as Mumbai Indians’ fielding coach in the third season of the IPL. He even contented to be the head coach of the team but lost the race to Ravi Shastri. However, his services could still be utilised as the fielding coach. Moreover, his prior experience with the team at the highest level might help him in the votes swinging in his favour.
4. R Sridhar
R Sridhar, Indian fielding coach. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ramakrishnan Sridhar, a former first-class cricketer, has spun the web around many batsmen with his crafty left-arm spin bowling during his playing days. Ever since he has taken up the role as the fielding coach of the Indian cricket team, he has worked wonders with the team. Under his guidance, the team has set new fielding standards.
Sridhar had employed some amazing drills to improve the skill of the Indian players. He has made the best possible use of the technology and resources at his disposal during his time with the team thus far. What stands out is his ability to pin-point the weaknesses of every player and use innovative techniques to improve upon those aspects.
Head coach Ravi Shastri seemed to be pretty satisfied with Sridhar’s work over the last few years. However, there is still a question if he would like to continue in this role for some more time. If he does, Sridhar will give the other contenders a good run for their money.
5. James Pamment
James Pamment, former New Zealand cricketer. (Photo Source: Stuff.co.nz)
Born in Yorkshire, James Pamment has spent most of his time in New Zealand. He represented Auckland at the domestic level. While he doesn’t boast of a great batting record, his fielding skill is quite exceptional. When Jonty Rhodes left the Mumbai Indians (MI) after nine long seasons in 2017, it was James Pamment who took over.
Earlier, Pamment also worked with the New Zealand cricket team as the fielding specialist. Before that, he was involved with the Northern Districts team and was the head coach of that side. With all his skill, he crafted that team into one of the best fielding sides and that is what has impressed the MI owners.
He is someone who gives clear roles to all his players and is usually good with the fielding angles as well. Being technically strong is another advantage for James Pamment. It would be interesting to see if the BCCI would consider his name for the job.
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