The dynamic fielders of the new Indian side


The Indian cricket team has been, for quite some time now, a formidable one. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and now Shikhar Dhawan have made India a fearsome team to bowl against But the Indian cricket team is not formidable simply because of its batsmen. Today, thanks to fleet-footed cricketers like Kohli and Raina, our fielding is to be feared as well.
The Indian cricket team did not always lay as much emphasis on fielding. Until Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, fielding was not given due importance. The emphasis was on bowling well and batting even better. It all changed under Pataudi’s captaincy. Pataudi decided, or rather recognised, that fielding is equally important and it was given due importance.
Soon, India came to boast of proficient fielders like Kris Srikanth, Mohammad Azaruddin, Ajay Jadeja, and Robin Singh. But one or two exceptional fielders in a team of average Joes had its problems from time to time. From dropped catches to mistimed dives, there have been several matches where we were bleeding runs.
As Indian cricket moved to the 21st century, we were gifted the agile Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh who were probably the best fielders India had seen since Azharuddin. Kaif and Yuvraj through their spectacular fielding and awe-inspiring catches added sparkle to the otherwise lacklustre Indian fielding. Kaif, who hasn’t played in an ODI or test since 2006 holds the record for the most number of catches in a World Cup match—5.
Even though generally, we can expect exceptional fielding from a select few Indian cricketers, we cannot totally ignore the likes of Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman. They may not have been the fastest or the most agile, but they were phenomenal in the slip cordon. Any ball coming in their direction would undoubtedly end up safely in their hands.
Even as players with exceptional talent come and go, India sadly seems unable to have a lethal fielding side. We are yet to measure up to teams like Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa when it comes to fielding.
With the likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja in our squad, India has some of the best fielders in the world. We may not be the strongest fielding side in the world, but we are swiftly getting there. A legendary batting line-up coupled with good bowlers and fielders makes India a formidable team to face—in any form of cricket.
(A young Indian side takes charge at ICC Champions Trophy).

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