India aim to outfield rivals: Sridhar

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Substitute Ravindra Jadeja pulled off a fine running catch to dismiss Australia's Glen Maxwell at the Oval on Sunday. AFP
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Nottingham: The Indian team would not set its foot off the pedal vis-a-vis fielding.

Fielding coach R Sridhar's comments came while comparing India’s fielding prowess with their arch-rivals Pakistan, who had a poor outing in the field against Australia on Wednesday.

“I saw it at The Oval on Sunday when we played Australia. Although we had a big total on the board, we had to field out of our skins to defend the total. So in this World Cup, the format is so good that every game is vital. That is where we have to be on top of the game. We should look to outfield our opponents.”

India are considered as one of the best fielding sides in the tournament.

Sridhar said the biggest gain for him was the manner in which the players had put the team ahead of themselves while fielding.

“The biggest thing that came out to me was the attitude of the fielders, where they put the team ahead of themselves, but these are the qualities which you need when you want to go out and win championships. This really came out in the last game, and that was good to see.”

Marked improvement

He said fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah stood out as one of the most improved players in the team as far as fielding was concerned due to the hard work he put in.

Sridhar said India’s attacking mode in the field stems from its skipper Virat Kohli’s approach towards it.

“We encourage fielders to create an opportunity where none exists. We encourage fielders to try and convert an opportunity which they have created. So, that is a rule we would like to take as a fielding unit, to be more on the aggressive side, and we all know where it comes from. It comes from the captain himself”.

Sridhar said India are aiming to approach the matches as a fielding unit.

“In the bargain, we lose one here or there, it doesn't matter because on a good day we pull off two or three brilliant run-outs.”

On the washed out game against New Zealand at the Trent Bridge, Sridhar said “the ground was almost like a skating ring. It would have put too much risk on the players, especially at the early phase of the tournament.”

The ICC match officials carried out six inspections, but given that the amount of rain received in the past three days was equivalent to a month’s rain as per the local weather department, even though the square which was covered, the outfield remained very wet and heavy.

“ I'm very happy with the kind of resources I have. We have a terrific slip catcher and a safe catcher in Rohit (Sharma). We have Virat and (Kedar) Jadhav, who can intimidate any batsman and they are prowling in the 30-yard range. To complement that, we have a player in Hardik Pandya, who can really help when needed. We are safe catchers. We saw (Yuzvendra) Chahal and Bumrah crack it up in the last game, diving after bowling long spells.”

Sridhar hoped the one area Team India improved itself further in was the direct throws to the stumps.

A good benchmark would be to convert one throw in every three or four throws into a direct hit, he said.

But India failed to do so in the last match against Australia in which the team could only convert one out of the 10 chances it got taking a shy at the stumps directly. 

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