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Indian cricket team fielding coach R Sridhar wants to turn side into world’s best

R Sridhar believes that the Indian cricket team has the potential to become the best in the world when it comes to fielding abilities.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 26, 2017 20:01 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Pallekele
India vs Sri Lanka,R Sridhar,Indian cricket team
India's Hardik Pandya celebrates with captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma ,Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's captain Upul Tharanga.(REUTERS)

The Indian cricket team will push forward with experiments despite their batting reshuffle spectacularly backfiring and almost leading to defeat in the second ODI against Sri Lanka, fielding coach R Sridhar said on Saturday.

Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team are looking to seal the five-match series by winning Sunday’s third ODI, after recovering from Sri Lankan spinner Akila Dananjaya’s six wickets in 20 deliveries to win by three wickets.

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“The way the last game shaped up was a wonderful learning curve for us,” Sridhar told a pre-match media conference. “It won’t stop (experiments). We’ll try out different players in different slots to get the best exposure, to get the best out of each player. That’s the endeavour of the team management.”

AMBITIOUS UNIT

Sridhar said India were one of the world’s best fielding sides and want to become the best, challenging the likes of Australia and South Africa.

“We have effected probably the most number of run outs in Tests over the last few years. In ODI cricket, we have been a very high-intensity fielding unit. Odd errors happen, that’s the nature of the beast, but we pride in our intensity and energy and that comes right from the core group of Virat and Ravi bhai (coach Ravi Shastri).

“They always feel the 10 best fielders along with the wicketkeeper will walk on to the field.”

India's Rohit Sharma dives to stop a ball ahead of their second One Day International match against Sri Lanka. (REUTERS)

The Indian cricket team’s fielding coach pointed out that every single fielding lapse was discussed, pointing to a dropped catch by Yuzvendra Chahal and Dhoni not backing up for a throw in Thursday’s game in Pallekele as examples.

With the Indian skipper having declared fitness as a priority, it will be down to managing the players’ workload. Sridhar said, “As far as differing fielding drills, it all depends on the workload. If someone is playing five or eight games on the trot, we are very careful with workload. For somebody who is not playing, it is a bit more. That is something we monitor very closely, we want them to be at their best whenever we take the ground.”

SLIP CORDON

With the 2019 World Cup to be held in England and Wales, the slip cordon is likely to be called into action more than it would be in the sub-continent. Sridhar said, unlike the Test team, continuity in close catchers for ODIs is a bigger challenge.

“We’ve three formats and we have to shift totally from one format to the other in a span of three days.”

Virat Kohli fields in the cordon, and while Ajinkya Rahane too is brilliant in that position in Tests, he is not in the playing eleven in the ODIs.

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“We really can’t decide ‘oh, these three are going to stand in these positions!’ There are a lot of variables involved. Somebody might get injured; somebody might not be part of the team. We take that call only once the team is decided.

“Once we get the 15 (for World Cup) in hand, Virat, Ravi bhai and I sit down, have a chat and figure the people manning key positions.

“You have better fielders manning the high-traffic zones, so it’s quite a busy three-and-half hours and it in turn reflects in our performance. We have one of the best fielding sides in the world at the moment and we look forward to making it the best in the world going forward.”

PANDYA FINE

All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was taken off the bowling attack after pulling up clutching his right calf, suffered only cramp and is fit to play in Sunday’s third ODI, said Sridhar. Pandya stayed on the field but didn’t bowl after pulling up clutching his calf twice in an over.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 18:28 IST