'Where is the brilliance? Where's the X-factor?': Ravi Shastri blasts India's 'sloppy standard of fielding' vs Australia
India's catching against Australia in the 1st T20I in Mohali was really sub-par, and it fetched them heavy criticism from none other than their former head coach Ravi Shastri.
Despite putting up a strong total of 208 on the board, India ended up on the losing end of the high-scoring 1st T20I against Australia in Mohali on Tuesday. India's pace bowling let them down as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the returning Harshal Patel dished out mighty expensive overs with the two bowlers combining to give away 101 runs from eight overs. Add to that India's surprisingly lacklustre fielding, which saw them drop three catches, including that of the game-changing Cameron Green. Despite there being little dew, India's catching was really sub-par, and it fetched them heavy criticism from none other than their former head coach Ravi Shastri.
Shastri, who has hardly been too critical of India's performance and has mostly praised the Indian team, was left shellshocked at the quality of fielding, calling it sloppy, and pointed out that something drastic needs to change if India are to beat top teams moving forward. Shastri, who during his time as coach, often compared the Indian unit under him to some of the greatest teams in the past, feels the current side is lacking teeth when it comes to fielding.
"If you look at all the top Indian teams over the years, there is youth and experience. I find the youth missing here and hence the fielding. If you look at the last five-six years, fielding wise, I think this side is no match to any of the top sides when it comes to fielding. And that can hit badly in big tournaments. It means that as a batting side you have to get that 15-20 runs game after game, because if you look around the field, where is brilliance? There is no Jadeja. Where is that X-factor?" Shastri said on air during the 1st T20I.
Chasing 209, Australia got off the blocks thanks to an aggressive intent shown by both Green and Aaron Finch. Axar Patel got India the breakthrough, cleaning up the Australia captain but had to wait long for their second success as Green went hammer and tongs. He plundered a half-century off 24 balls and went on to score 61 off 29, but his assault could have been avoided had Axar held on to a regulation catch at deep mid-wicket of the innings when the batter was on 42.
In just the next over, KL Rahul put down another chance running in from long-off. However, the most important drop that hurt India was that of Matthew Wade, who blasted an unbeaten 45 off 21 balls to see his side through. He was on 1 when Harshal grassed a caught and bowled chance. Looking back at India's shoddy fielding, Shastri was pretty taken aback and said the team really needs to turn things around if they wish to win ICC tournaments.
"What I was disappointed today with was the standard of fielding. I mean, it looks sloppy and I think you need a big upping of the ante when it comes to the fielding if you have to beat big sides in big competitions," he added.