R Sridhar has seemed happy as the perception about fielding has been changing lately and claimed that the Indian Premier League is the major contributor to players' fielding improvement. He has also stated that the Indian team is one of the best in the world when it comes to ground fielding.
In the recent past, the Indian cricket team has produced multiple examples in which they proved the high level of their fielding. Now, Team India’s fielding coach R Sridhar also appreciated the change the players have shown during matches. He believes that this has become possible because of the IPL.
“As far as ground fielding is concerned we are the best in the world,” Sridhar told The Indian Express.
“The IPL is a major contributor as fielding is given more importance. (Resultantly), not only have fitness levels vastly improved but also the awareness around it. Nowadays you can’t hide on the field. If you are playing a game of eight overs then even one small fumble can decide the match,” he said.
Fielding in slips has been slightly unpredictable because the regular players picked injuries which forced Kohli to change his slip cordon frequently.
“If we have the same men consistently (without injuries) in the squad then we can always have a settled slip cordon. Going into the next series we will see who we have – Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan. We will take a look and go according to what we have,” says Sridhar.
The Indian fielding coach also revealed that Ajinkya Rahane comes to the training session with a set plan and takes inputs from him which is his main job.
“Ajinkya comes to training with a plan and practices very specific drills – with the left/right hand and in terms of position and technique. I do add a little input. As a coach, my job is to give the players correct feedback and give them the option as to what they can work on and whatever suits them best they incorporate it into their game,” the 47-year-old said.
Sridhar also applauded the fitness levels of the bowlers and said that the Indian pacers work hard during practice so that they can improve their fielding skills, which wasn’t considered important earlier.
“Their fitness levels have gone up and the mindset has changed. On one hand, you have Umesh Yadav, who is an excellent fielder. The kind of improvement Jasprit Bumrah has made over the last 18 months is unbelievable. Mohammad Shami has the best arm in the country and covers ground well. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) is one of the fittest players around. Mohammad Siraj is a good athlete and has the potential to be a potent fielder. So we have a good crop of fast bowlers who are good fielders,” says Sridhar.