It might be an understatement to say that the fielding standards during India’s tour of Australia have been poor. So much so, that the team that drops fewer chances seems to be the one that has come out on top in the matches so far.
Starting with the Adelaide Test, India have struggled. They put down four catches followed by one in Melbourne, four in Sydney and three more in Brisbane on Friday.
Australia haven’t done much better. They have grassed 13 catches – one in Adelaide, seven in Melbourne and five in Sydney.
And it isn’t just the tough chances that have gone down. Regulation chances have been put down and that should worry the fielding coaches more than anything else. There are various reasons as to why the catches are going down – Shaw’s footwork was poor, the anticipation in some cases wasn’t there, in other instances, the fielder was caught napping on his heels. It is never one thing.
Either way, these dropped catches have had a huge impact on a tight series and there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix around the corner.
So what better way for the Indian and Aussie teams to get back to their best than to watch and learn from some of the best in the business:
Rahul Dravid and Mark Waugh
Rahul Dravid and Mark Waugh made catching look simple. In the slips, against pace or spin, there was little that they dropped and they both had their own method.
There have been few better fielders than Jonty Rhodes in the history of the key. For the South African, the key was always anticipation. You have to expect the ball to come to you all the time.
Pant and Paine have both had issues behind the wickets. They have both dropped catches that have come back to haunt their teams. While we all talk a lot about Adam Gilchrist’s batting but his keeping was as solid as it got.
And finally, if you can’t catch them, then you must run them out. Just as Jadeja did with Steve Smith in the third Test or as Ricky Ponting did to the opposition through a long, long career.