Catching troubles for team India

The Indian slip catching has been poor in the recent times and has cost India in tests.

The Indian slip catching has been poor in the recent times and has cost India in tests.

As the old adage in cricket goes “catches win matches” and obviously that holds true for all formats of the game. Catching has been a big problem for this young Indian side. There was a time when Indian slip cordon consisted of the Dravid and Laxman with Sehwag, Sachin ET all making up the other slip. The catching was brilliant and it was the main reason for India to climb in the rankings. Yes there were few drops here and there but mostly all catches were taken.

It was not only the slip catching but overall the Indian fielders were good in taking catches. The one criticism that Indian team had then was that their ground fielding was really poor. Now with the current team India faces quite the opposite problem. The Indian ground fielding is one of the best but the catching overall has been very poor. Over the last few months the Indian fielders have dropped some crucial catches which has changed the course of the game. The slip catching has been tentative and the overall catching has been casual. Statistics say that India has tried as much as 5 fielders in the first slip in the last 19 tests and as much as 8 catches have been dropped in the slips by India in the last 7 tests. This is a very revealing stat and something which has been completely ignored while blaming our bowling.

The Indian bowlers aren’t world beaters and they require all the assistance they can get from the fielders. The drop chances have really hurt India and their chance to win few games. The Wellington test comes to mind immediately, the drop chances of Williamson and McCullum cost India the test which they were well on the way to win. In the first test at Lord’s Rahane dropped Robson but luckily for him the batsman did not make most of that chance. India let a chance slip of Gary Ballance in the first innings and he went on to score a hundred. Alastair Cook was dropped in the first innings of the 3rd test which allowed him to get of the wretched form he had been under to post a career saving 95. The captain Dhoni himself hasn’t been a safe catcher himself in the recent times.

Young players like Jadeja, Rahane and Kohli have been pretty bad and have dropped some crucial takes over the last few months. Virat Kohli has been the biggest offender among the young brigade. His casual attempt at nabbing Brendon McCullum’s feeble drive at short mid-on in the second test cost India dearly. Jadeja has dropped couple of crucial ones. Dhawan has been a reluctant first slipper and has hardly shown intent to go after difficult takes. Rahane has dropped a few in the slips.

This has been a disturbing trend for the young Indian team. The young players who have been brilliant in saving runs and effecting run outs have been poor catchers in the slips as well as in the outfield. This problem has not only been in tests but also has been in the ODI’s and T20 games. India needs to arrest this problem fast if they have to compete at the highest level. Good players will always make you pay if you give them a second chance. India has found that out in the recent times to a devastating effect. The team needs reliable slip fielders and the outfield catching needs to be sorted out too.

India has two more tests after the current one at the Rose Bowl in this series and then they travel to Australia later this year. India needs to take all their chances to compete in these games. Top teams will make you pay if you drop catches. The coach and captain need to find a way to get through to these young players and figure out what is going wrong with the catching. If they do not arrest this trend soon, India will be finding themselves chasing the leather most often than not and the only ones to suffer will be the bowlers.

The Little Master guides India to 2-0

What a performance from the little master, 163 from 133 balls was a phenomenal effort. Considering that people were gunning for his throat in the One day format, this was a special performance. Sachin answered his critics through his willow rather than on papers. That’s something which separates this great player from the others. His humility and his ability to keep his feet firmly on the ground have made him the great player that he is.

Coming back to the game itself, it was a batting paradise at christchurch and it seemed at the end that no score was safe. India would be really happy that in the end they got enough to win the game. In the absence of Daniel Vettori, Mccullum won the toss and invited India to bat, a decision which he would have regretted. India started with Sehwag and Tendulkar. Sehwag played an atrocious stroke to get bowled for 3 which brought in Gautam Ghambir to join Sachin in the middle.

Sachin Tendulkar though launched a brilliant counterattack after Sehwag’s exit which kept the Kiwis on the back foot. When things were going smoothly for the visitors Ghambir decided to run the ball to third man only to guide it into the hands of Andrew Mcglashan to leave India 2 down. Yuvraj then walked in to join the little master and what followed in the next 10-15 overs was an absolute carnage and something which the Kiwis did not have answer to.

The ground was too small for Yuvraj as he dealt mostly in boundaries during his knock of 87. Sachin and Yuvraj just hammered the New Zealand bowlers to submission. When Yuvraj was finally out for 87 India were already past 200. It was an ideal platform for Dhoni and the rest of the batting order. Dhoni had a lucky reprieve when Andrew Mcglashan missed an easy stumping of the bowling of Patel. Dhoni and Sachin continued the hitting and by the time Sachin retired due to injury for 163 India were already past 330 with 5 overs to go.

Suresh Raina then joined the Indian captain in the middle and helped India to reach 392/4 in 50 overs. This was the highest ever ODI score in NZ and the second highest for India.

The Indian bowlers though did not find the short boundaries to their liking. The New Zealand opening combination of Jesse Ryder and Brendon Mccullum got off to a flier scoring at almost 8 runs/over. The fielders also did not help India’s cause as they grassed two simple chances offered by both the openers. The first wicket fell at last with the New Zealand score on 165 when Brendon Mccullum was run out by Raina/Dhoni combination.

New Zealand though lost their way after that wicket in spite of Ryder’s brilliant hundred to lose 6 wickets for 50 odd runs. India though were unable to get rid of a tail who lead by Kyle Mills launched a brilliant fight back which put enormous pressure on the Indians. The Indian bowlers did not handle the situation well and Munaf was terribly disappointing. Dhoni looked visibly upset at the way Munaf was going about his bowling. The umpire finally ended Munaf’s misery when he took him off for bowling two over the waist deliveries in the same over.

India finally bowled the hosts out for 334, 58 runs short of the target. Even though the final score line suggests a comfortable win for India, Dhoni will not be happy with the way his team bowled and fielded. The game could have been much shorter if the Indians had hung on to the catches offered by the openers earlier in the innings. India would like to iron out the flaws before the next game and would hope to wrap up the series 3-0.

The Little Master guides India to 2-0

What a performance from the little master, 163 from 133 balls was a phenomenal effort. Considering that people were gunning for his throat in the One day format, this was a special performance. Sachin answered his critics through his willow rather than on papers. That’s something which separates this great player from the others. His humility and his ability to keep his feet firmly on the ground have made him the great player that he is.

 

Coming back to the game itself, it was a batting paradise at christchurch and it seemed at the end that no score was safe. India would be really happy that in the end they got enough to win the game. In the absence of Daniel Vettori, Mccullum won the toss and invited India to bat, a decision which he would have regretted. India started with Sehwag and Tendulkar. Sehwag played an atrocious stroke to get bowled for 3 which brought in Gautam Ghambir to join Sachin in the middle.

 

Sachin Tendulkar though launched a brilliant counterattack after Sehwag’s exit which kept the Kiwis on the back foot. When things were going smoothly for the visitors Ghambir decided to run the ball to third man only to guide it into the hands of Andrew Mcglashan to leave India 2 down. Yuvraj then walked in to join the little master and what followed in the next 10-15 overs was an absolute carnage and something which the Kiwis did not have answer to.

 

The ground was too small for Yuvraj as he dealt mostly in boundaries during his knock of 87. Sachin and Yuvraj just hammered the New Zealand bowlers to submission. When Yuvraj was finally out for 87 India were already past 200. It was an ideal platform for Dhoni and the rest of the batting order. Dhoni had a lucky reprieve when Andrew Mcglashan missed an easy stumping of the bowling of Patel. Dhoni and Sachin continued the hitting and by the time Sachin retired due to injury for 163 India were already past 330 with 5 overs to go.

 

Suresh Raina then joined the Indian captain in the middle and helped India to reach 392/4 in 50 overs. This was the highest ever ODI score in NZ and the second highest for India.

 

The Indian bowlers though did not find the short boundaries to their liking. The New Zealand opening combination of Jesse Ryder and Brendon Mccullum got off to a flier scoring at almost 8 runs/over. The fielders also did not help India’s cause as they grassed two simple chances offered by both the openers. The first wicket fell at last with the New Zealand score on 165 when Brendon Mccullum was run out by Raina/Dhoni combination.

 

New Zealand though lost their way after that wicket in spite of Ryder’s brilliant hundred to lose 6 wickets for 50 odd runs. India though were unable to get rid of a tail who lead by Kyle Mills launched a brilliant fight back which put enormous pressure on the Indians. The Indian bowlers did not handle the situation well and Munaf was terribly disappointing. Dhoni looked visibly upset at the way Munaf was going about his bowling. The umpire finally ended Munaf’s misery when he took him off for bowling two over the waist deliveries in the same over.

 

India finally bowled the hosts out for 334, 58 runs short of the target. Even though the final score line suggests a comfortable win for India, Dhoni will not be happy with the way his team bowled and fielded. The game could have been much shorter if the Indians had hung on to the catches offered by the openers earlier in the innings. India would like to iron out the flaws before the next game and would hope to wrap up the series 3-0.