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Virat Kohli believes India’s close catching still work in progress

Virat Kohli was upfront in admitting that India’s close catching at short leg will need to improve in the coming games.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 06, 2017 23:38 IST
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India vs Sri Lanka,India national cricket team,Sri Lanka national cricket team
Virat Kohli believes India need to improve their close catching. (AP)

Abhinav Mukund set the benchmark in the first Test with two spectacular dismissals at short-leg and then declared he was keen to be known as a specialist close-in fielder. It’s a position which demands, apart from skills a lot of daring. The fielder needs to have the guts to watch the ball for two extra seconds and not turn away when the batsman shapes to hit towards him.

In the second Test, KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara pulled off one good catch each at close-in in the first innings but overall the standard of catching was not up to the mark. Otherwise, Sri Lanka’s resistance in the second innings would have ended much earlier.

Rahul floored a straightforward catch off Dimuth Karunaratne on the fourth morning, and the opener, who was on 95, thwarted India till after lunch.

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Similarly, before Pujara pulled off a spectacular one-handed catch at slips to dismiss Karunaratne in the first innings, he was guilty of not even reacting to a chance that went through the slip cordon.

Among the close-in catchers, only Ajinkya Rahane and keeper Wriddhiman Saha came out with flying colours in this game.

India captain Virat Kohli admitted his team’s close-in catching is a work in progress.

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“That is certainly an area that we want to keep improving in. On a pitch like that where it is getting slower, sometimes you end up standing ahead because you want to pick catches from the front. And then when one big shot is played and the ball is bowled quick, you suddenly look like you are not in position.

“It is a very tricky thing. Maybe, we will have to figure out a certain distance we just stay in, no matter whether the ball falls in front of us (or not). Specialists are always nice. KL and Pujara are our close-in specialists. Pujara does gully for spinners as well but then he takes on short-leg and KL hasn’t done as much of that practice as Pujara does. So it becomes tricky,” said Kohli.

Virat Kohli’s close catching too is not top notch. Experts were analysing how he instinctively commits to one side and is late when the ball goes the other way.

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“I try to chip in, but when I drop catches it looks bad. We will have to figure out who stands in those positions consistently and keep those guys there for longer periods. That is the solution going forward.”

First Published: Aug 06, 2017 20:04 IST