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Slippery hands make them hard battles

Is it a reflection of the overall fielding standards of those playing here or is it about adjusting to the conditions? One of the striking points of the first week's action in the World Twenty20 at the R Premadasa Stadium has been a number of catches that have been put down, some of them dollies. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal writes. In a nutshell

india Updated: Sep 24, 2012 01:00 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal

Is it a reflection of the overall fielding standards of those playing here or is it about adjusting to the conditions? One of the striking points of the first week's action in the World Twenty20 at the R Premadasa Stadium has been a number of catches that have been put down, some of them dollies.

Dropped catches are part of the game but nine going down in four games is a high number.

When the Afghanistan fielders let slip a series of easy takes against India, it was blamed on pressure and poor standard. But on Saturday, two of the world's top fielders, Shane Watson and Dwayne Smith too muffed easy chances by their standards.

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Ironically, the growth of T20 cricket was supposed to encourage fielding. "T20 has generally helped improve the standard of fielding. Here, I don't know what it is, whether it's the lights or something else in the atmosphere. It happens sometimes that the ball travels differently due to atmospheric factors and the fielders find it difficult to adjust. Smith is a top fielder, he doesn't drop many," said West Indies team manager Richie Richardson, one the finest fielders of his generation. etc etera

Big let-off
Some of these lapses have cost teams the match. Against India, the butter-fingered Afghanistan players dropped as many as four. Suresh Raina was dropped twice, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh once each. Raina, let off on two and 19, went on to make 38. Kohli, dropped on 33, hit 50.

"They are our best fielders, I have never seen them drop catches," said skipper Nawroz Mangal, when asked to explain the lapses.

The Australia versus West Indies game was supposed to be an exhibition of top class fielding. It saw two big lapses which proved to be game changers. First, Watson grassed Chris Gayle at third man. The batsman was on four, and went on to make 54 in 33 balls.

When his turn came to bat, Watson also enjoyed a reprieve and duly clinched the game for Australia. The opener was on 28, and remained 41 not out.

"There are turning moments in a game. My dropped catch of Gayle turned the game in the West Indies' favour. Dropped catches can turn events and I was lucky it was my turn while batting," said Watson.

"Dwayne Smith is a very good fielder. As soon as I spotted exactly who it was, I was 100% confident he was going to catch it but one thing I did know what I had hit it right out of the middle, so it was going to take quite some catching. I was happy especially that he tipped it over for six," added Watson.

It was the second straight game that Watson had benefited as against Ireland he had a life when off-spinner Paul Stirling failed to hold on to a caught and bowled chance.