A one-handed stunner to pluck the ball mid-air, plunging and committing for saving a certain boundary or an outrageous direct throw to stun the batsman — fielding has always been a bewitching aspect of the game. Amid the dazzle of batting and bowling performances– which mostly hog the limelight– it’s the on-field fielding attempt which sweeps the audience off their feet.
Be it Jonty Rhodes‘ equivocal ‘superman’ attempt to run out Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq or Ben Stokes flaunting his ‘superhuman’ abilities to leap high and pull off a one-handed stunner in the World Cup 2019 — eccentric fielding efforts always enthral the audience.
Fielding is the only facet of the sport where new benchmarks are set in the wake of every stunning on-field effort. India’s affair of producing world-class fielders has been trailblazing. From Robin Singh, Mohammad Azharuddin and Rahul Dravid plucking catches in the slips to the Yuvraj-Kaif duo guarding the point and cover area.
Team India’s fielding scenario has always been incorporated with a breath of fresh air at regular intervals. With the standard of fielding being elevated by leaps and bounds in recent times, the baton– on the contrary– has been passed to the young colts, who are grabbing eyeballs with their impressive fielding attempts in the ongoing ICC U19 World Cup 2019. There’s no better sight in cricket than a fielder diving at full length and leaping to take a stunning catch.
The young guns of Team India have done it all so far in the tournament. From pin-point accurate throws to diving catches near the boundary rope– the Men in Blue have flaunted sublime fielding efforts. Be it Akash Singh pulling off a diving catch against New Zealand or Priyam Garg grabbing a stunner while running backwards– India have undoubtedly notched up their fielding province. Gearing up to defend their World Cup title, the Indian side was also spotted working on their slip catching in an agile drill.
Abhay Sharma played a pivotal role as India U19 fielding coach
The India U19 side in en route to their title defence with former Railways captain Abhay Sharma donning the fielding and wicketkeeping coach’s hat. Sharma, who has been assigned the role in Rahul Dravid‘s reigns, has not disappointed to reinforce the fielding unit of the side. He has played a pivotal role so far by implementing innovative practice techniques– from unconventional wicketkeeping drills to agile catching routines. India’s first-choice wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel has also delivered commendable performances behind the stumps.
Be it Sri Lanka, Japan, New Zealand or Australia, the Priyam Garg-led side has left no stones unturned in their campaign and have steamrolled every opposition. Apart from Kartik Tyagi’s lethal spells, Yashasvi-Priyam’s batting exploits and Ravi Bishnoi’s all-round capabilities, India have also dominated the opposition with their fielding forte. Direct hits, catches, efforts to save one extra run on the boundary rope and curbing the run-flow in the 30-year-circle– India have dazzled with their exemplary fielding effort.
The Men in Blue have showcased a robust performance in the U19 World Cup and have easily cruised to the semi-final after decimating Australia U19 by 74 runs. The title contenders’ pursuit of raising their fielding bar has been bolstered by the Sharma’s presence. Innovation has always been an indispensable part of any sport. And groundbreaking fielding routines, radical changes in work ethics and experimental wicketkeeping drills have helped to elevate India’s on-field presence.
Agile footwork and reflexes have now become an essential for any modern-day cricketer. Abhay Sharma, to churn out the best from any player, relies on various fielding drills involving artefacts like chairs and tennis racquets. India are already touted as favourites to clinch the U19 World Cup trophy and Sharma believes that the marquee event is nothing but a pathway for young colts to pave their way to the senior side. Amid the rising youngsters, Priyam Garg and Yashasvi Jaiswal already have made themselves noticeable in the senior domestic circuit.
Team India is only a few victories away from glory in the ongoing World Cup and fielding will again be of utmost importance in upcoming matches. However, one cannot ignore the change which the team has undergone under Abhay Sharma’s guidance. It’s still a long time for these young colts to shine in the senior side but one thing that has set these players apart from others is undoubtedly their fielding vigour.
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