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Nov 22, 2019-Friday



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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

India vs West Indies: Fielding keeps Team India’s seniors on their toes

India’s fielding coach R Sridhar and skipper Virat Kohli have worked hard in recent times to not only improve the fielding of the side, but also work hard to ensure they can get the best out of India’s senior players on the field.

india-vs-west-indies-2017 Updated: Jun 28, 2017 23:41 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
North Sound, Antigua
Virat Kohli has been working hard behind the scenes to best use his senior players.
Virat Kohli has been working hard behind the scenes to best use his senior players. (AP)

The Indian fielding coach R Sridhar sums up his mantra for training his wards: “You give what they want till the time they begin to take what you want to give them,” he says in an informal chat following a presser.

He has been pretty vocal that players must be given more freedom and time. Sridhar doesn’t want to rush into things and his three-year stay shows that.

The former Hyderabad player cites the example of working with pace bowler Mohammed Shami for six months before he got comfortable with picking the ball on the field with both hands. “We have made progress, but sometimes he still picks and throws with one hand,” Sridhar tells journalists here.

Fitness, agility

Skipper Virat Kohli insisting on players’ fitness and agility is well known.

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In the Champions Trophy in England, while India effected seven run outs and were quite good in the field, there were some weak links. Kedar Jadhav probably got unnerved, especially in the initial matches, and failed to grab the chances. That irked skipper Virat Kohli, who made his displeasure known.

Yuvraj Singh isn’t getting any younger. The man who pioneered the fielding revolution in India, especially plucking catches out of nowhere at cover point, is being banished to the deep, mostly third man region. It’s a climb down.

In fact, the MS Dhoni biopic shows the former skipper stressing on taking a harsh call to drop some seniors. It wasn’t just fiction, but a fact. The sudden departure of VVS Laxman from Tests in 2012 and Virender Sehwag after a while shows how much importance fielding is given these days.

Fitness for longevity

Dhoni, 35, is still fit, and besides keeping wicket, is brilliant between the wickets. He probably knows that his best chance to stay in the team is by staying fit. Batting coach Sanjay Bangar had said if the seniors stay fit, then they have a chance.

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Sridhar says, “It is very important for us to understand his body and what he needs. So, we have to be very careful with his workload monitoring, what he brings, and make sure what he needs and is as fit and fresh as possible when he takes the field for 50 overs. Yuvraj has been through a lot.”

Of late, Virat has been handling Yuvraj rather carefully. “Virat knows where exactly he wants to have Yuvraj,” Sridhar told the presser.

The senior pro has been made to field even at long on and long off, positions usually reserved for fast bowlers who may not be that agile. Virat ensures Yuvi gets the best position possible.