The entire cricketing fraternity expected Australia to be playing catch up cricket on their tour of India, but they have had India on the leash right from the word go. Their bowlers have bowled impeccable spells, their batsmen have applied themselves to perfection and they have been aided by some shambolic fielding/catching by the Indian fielders.
Throughout this home season India’s slip catching has been horrendous. And while all other aspects of their cricket hid that huge blot, Australia have come out and exposed India in all three aspects of the game, and this is when all those dropped catches come to haunt you.
Sunil Gavaskar has ever so beautifully analysed as to what is exactly wrong with India’s slip fielders.
In his column for the Times of India, Sunil Gavaskar criticised the fielding stance of all Indian slip fielders.
“Time and again their close-in fielders have let them down and while the best of fielders do drop catches, it is the stubbornness not to change their fielding stance which is the major reason they drop catches”
“Apart from Ajinkya Rahane, every other close-in fielder stands with a stiff back so he is unable to get down in time to catch the balls coming towards and below the ankles. The fielding coach can give hundreds of catches before the day’s play begins, but till the fielders start to crouch low, they are going to drop more than they catch,”
Steve Smith was dropped multiple times in the Pune Test and even in the ongoing test Rahane and Kohli have put down chances that need to be taken against this Australian side.
Indians generally have been brilliant at slip catching. Rahul Dravid at first slip and VVS Laxman at second slip revolutionised slip catching during the early 2000s, but all that has gradually faded away.
Virat Kohli needs to rectify this aspect of India’s fielding and quickly, because all this come back to haunt India when they go overseas, where slip catching would be a huge part of their bowling effort.