Robin Singh, an outstanding fielder in his playing days, has been quieter than normal on tour here. Nobody can really blame him, given the way India have been fielding right from when they landed in Ireland, India’s first ever fielding coach is possibly wondering whether he’s taken on Mission Impossible.
On Sunday here, India vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had an interesting explanation for India’s fielding woes. “Most of us do not have strong arms like (Australia’s Andrew) Symonds, so we tend to struggle on big grounds,” Dhoni said. “But we are trying to overcome it by running in early, stopping and releasing the ball as soon as we can.”
Well, then India are in big trouble on Monday and thereafter, because their tryst with a small ground is done with Bristol. Their next five games will all be played at larger venues.
Dhoni also suggested that the lack of infrastructure in India hampered the development of a young cricketer’s fielding skills. “When I was a kid, I never knew how to dive. If you try and dive on most grounds, you would return with a mark as big as a 500-rupee note on your arm.”
But, be said that younger players who had trained at Bangalore’s NCA were better off. “Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma are excellent fielders.”
While England have benefited from extra runs given away in the field by India, poor catching almost cost India the Bristol one-dayer.
Dravid admitted after Bristol, that the “catching could have been better”. “At one stage I thought it might hurt us badly.” That time, they were lucky. Next time might be a different story.