One of the biggest improvements- apart from the emergence of a fast-bowling group and increased focus on fitness-led by Virat Kohli- that Indian cricket has undergone in the past decade has been the substantial increase in their standards of fielding. But, the same cannot be said about their catching. While in the longer form of the game, the Men in Blue have dropped a plethora of catches in the outfield.
And, the ongoing T20I series against the West Indies has testified the problem to the hilt. In the second T20I at Thiruvananthapuram, Washington Sundar and Rishabh Pant dropped the crucial catches of Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis respectively; which as it turned out to be fatal to their cause as the West Indies eventually romped home with death-defying ease.
Former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar has weighed in on India’s issues in the field. Speaking to the media, Gavaskar said, “I think fielding is the most important thing. You save runs, you put pressure on the opposition,” as quoted by Times Now.
Earlier Indian captain Virat Kohli, who himself took a brilliant catch in the last game to dismiss Lendl Simmons lashed out at his sides’ atrocious fielding and reckoned that they wouldn’t be able to win many games if they keep dropping catches like the first two matches.
If we field so poorly, no amount of runs will be enough. We were poor with the field in the last two games. We dropped two catches in one over.”Kohli had said in the post-match press conference.
‘Indian team has been doing really well’: Sunil Gavaskar
Apart from the fielding errors, another issue that has plagued Team India in T20I cricket is their inability to defend totals. But, the 70-year-old Gavaskar feels that it is not just India that are facing issues while defending the totals.
According to the legendary Indian opener, it has been the norm with all sides across the world and one of the reasons for it-especially in India- is the effect of due in the second innings which makes it difficult not only for the bowlers to grip the ball but also for the fielders.
“The Indian team has been doing really well. But I think the more they do in the fielding department, take catches and save more runs, the easier it will become for them. In T20 cricket, it’s not just India but there are other teams as well who are not good at defending the totals. In the first T20I, even West Indies couldn’t defend a total which was in excess of 200. So, it’s not just a situation with India, it’s generally with most other teams as well. They find it difficult to defend,” said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar added “As matches are played in the evening, the dew factor also plays a huge role. The bowlers are not able to bowl properly with the wet ball. Even the fielders find it difficult to field as they don’t get a good grip on the ball when they are fielding in the deep and are throwing. So, fielding wise also, it’s difficult and that’s why I think, teams find it difficult when it comes to defending the totals in T20 cricket.”
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