Indian fielding coach R Sridhar has been mighty impressed with the standard of fielding, which he feels is a controllable skill, that the Indian cricket team is showing at the moment. He also pointed out the important factors needed to be a good fielder in each format of the game.
Indian fielding coach R Sridhar believes that if one has the right mindset then one can have the qualities to become a gun fielder. He believes that different skill sets are required in different formats of the game to be a good fielder but the basic abilities remain the same.
“Hand-eye coordination, anticipation, awareness, reaction, reflexes, and concentration,” he told Sportstar.
“The one element that connects fielding in all formats is technique. Fielding is a controllable skill, you got to develop the right mind-set,” he added.
India has raised the bar of fielding in the past decade and especially after the fitness regime that Virat Kohli brought into the team culture, the Indian fielding has reached a completely different level. Sridhar was particularly impressed with the way Mayank Agarwal fielded at silly point and he believes that while most of the batsmen are scared to field at silly point, Agarwal is fearless.
“We had Mayank Aggarwal and Hanuma Vihari at silly point and short-leg against the West Indies. Then Mayank and Rohit Sharma did the job against South Africa,” Sridhar asserted.
“His (Mayank's) intensity is very good. He is quick, has a good technique, and doesn’t have the fear of getting hit,” he added.
India's slip catching is something that has not improved greatly as many catches have gone down in that region especially in India's away tours where slip catching is a basic skill that should be needed. Thus, Sridhar is looking to set up a settled slip cordon for a long period of time with each player knowing their role and having good catching ability.
“We have Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip, Rohit, who has great hands, at second, and Virat Kohli at third, the ball flies hard there and we need someone with Virat’s reflexes. And Ajinkya Rahane has been outstanding at gully,” Sridhar said.
The shorter format of the game is perhaps where fielding is the most important and besides thew Indian captain Virat Kohli, Sridhar rates fielders like Manish Pandey and Ravindra Jadeja as top quality.
“He (Manish) is a brilliant fielder, rather under-rated. I would say he is only slightly behind Ravindra Jadeja, the best all-round fielder in the world, and Kohli, a sensational athlete,” Sridhar said.
Sridhar is particularly pleased with the way the Indian bowlers have raised their fielding standards. Although he believes that fast bowlers may get injured standing in the slip cordon or near the batsman, their ground coverage and fielding on the boundary is what has impressed Sridhar.
“Even the pacemen are excellent fielders now, just look at Umesh Yadav’s ground coverage and throw,” he said
Sridhar's next challenge will be helping India maintain the same level of standard in the field with the pink ball which will be a new experience for all as India are set to play their first-ever pink-ball Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.
“It will have its own dynamics,” the fielding coach concluded.