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A series of dropped catches!

In the entire Test series Indians missed 22 chances. MS Dhoni was the biggest culprit with five, writes Rajneesh Gupta.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 16:39 IST

India's capitulation in the third Test at Mumbai, coming in spite of fine performance in first two Tests, raises questions about their ability to rise to the occasion. India seem to find a new level when they play in the series decider. Unfortunately, the level is lower.

While skipper Dravid - for his decision of asking England to bat first after winning the toss- and Indian batsmen- for their meek surrender in the fourth innings - deserve a lot of blame, the Indian fielding made a significant impact on the outcome of the game. It was simply atrocious. As many as 15 chances were missed in the Mumbai Test (seven alone of Flintoff), while England dropped only seven catches. No doubt, India's fielding in the Mumbai must rank as the worst performance by a Test side in the recent times.

In the whole series Indian fielders missed 22 chances. England missed only 10. Wicket-keeper MS Dhoni was the biggest culprit with five missed catches. He also failed to make a simple stumping to dismiss Flintoff in the second innings of Mumbai Test, a miss that cost India the match.

The highly rated Yuvraj dropped five, four in bat-pad position and one in the slip. Rahul Dravid, the most successful fielder in Indian Test history, was not very far behind dropping four - all in the slip.

In fact right through the series there did not seem any planning on the part of the team management to place which player at which position. Yuvraj's normal fielding position is Point, where he had taken some really stunning catches in the past. But he was rotated from silly point to slip to forward short-leg. What was the rationale behind placing Sreesanth in the Cover in Nagpur Test. A stranger at this position, Sreesanth dropped a sitter of Pietersen (off Kumble) when he had made only 51. Riding on his luck, Pietersen went on to make 87 and took the game away from India.

It's age old saying that catches win matches. India proved that its inverse is equally true.

Dropped Catches by Position

  India England
 Keeper 6* 3
 Slip 7 1
 Gully 1 1
 Bat-pad 5 1
 Cover 1 0
 Mid-off 2 2
 Caught and bowled 2 2


* including one missed stumping

Biggest culprits
             India  England 
M S Dhoni 6* Geraint Jones 3
Yuvraj Singh 5 Monty Panesar 2
Rahul Dravid 4 Ian Bell 1
Anil Kumble 2 Andrew Flintoff 1
Harbhajan Singh 1 Matthew Prior+ 1
Wasim Jaffer 1 Owais Shah 1
 VVS Laxman1 Shaun Udal 1
Virender Sehwag 1
Sreesanth 1  

* includes one stumping
+ as a substitute

Biggest beneficiaries

(Batsmen who were dropped)

 England Chances Runs added after the drop
 A Flintoff 8 110
 A Cook 4 98
 A Strauss 3 36
 K Pietersen 2 36
 O Shah2 17
 J Anderson1 10
 S Udal1 12
 M Panesar1 0
IndiaCatchesRuns added after the drop
MS Dhoni558
R Dravid254
M Kaif173
A Kumble149
W Jaffer 1 7

Only the runs added by the batsman between the first drop and completion of innings have been taken into account.

 Biggest sufferers(bowlers who were at the receiving end)
 India
 A Kumble 10
 Harbhajan Singh 7
 MM Patel 3
 S Sreesanth2
 Kumble and Harbhajan dropped one catch each of their bowling
 England
 JM Anderson 3
 SD Udal 2
 ID Blackwell 1
 A Flintoff 1
 SJ Harmison 1
 MJ Hoggard 1
 MS Panesar 1
 Flintoff and Udal dropped one catch each of their bowling

Note

: The classification of a chance as a miss is subjective one.

First Published: Mar 24, 2006 16:23 IST