IND v AUS 2020: ‘Fielding is a lot about concentration’ – Mohammad Azharuddin dissects India’s poor efforts on the field

Virat Kohli in action during the second T20I on Sunday

R Sridhar (R) with Rohit Sharma (L) during a fielding session

Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin recently opined that lack of concentration on the field is leading to poor fielding efforts by the Indian players. While India have sealed the three-match T20I series, their ground fielding and catching have come under the scanner.

Azharuddin’s comments came on the back of KL Rahul attributing dropped catches to the ball being difficult to spot with the crowd in the background. In an interview with Times of India, Azhar rebutted the justification by saying spectators are anyway not present during fielding sessions in practice.

“You don’t do fielding practice in front of a large crowd. Do you? But yet players have taken catches during matches in front of 20,000 to 30,000 people. So what’s new?…We have got some very good fielders.

“But, now even they are not holding on to the catches and are making silly mistakes on the field. Fielding is a lot about concentration and I strongly feel that there is a drop in concentration levels of our players when they field,” Azhar, who was one of the best fielders in the world during his playing days, said.

While India’s overall fielding has been shoddy, what’s been a lot more baffling is that top fielders such as Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey and Hardik Pandya have dropped regulation catches. One among the biggest examples of this is how Indian skipper dropped a dolly from Matthew Wade, before the former inflicted a run-out to remove his counterpart in the second T20I on Sunday.

Virat Kohli failed to grasp a simple leading edge, which left even Wade himself flummoxed and stuck halfway on the pitch, thus resulting in his run-out. Mohammad Azharuddin blamed the current crop of players for the fielding mishaps despite having the best of facilities to them.

“In our days, we didn’t have great outfields. Now, the players have the best of conditions to field. They have a specialised fielding coach and other back-up staff to support. And still if players are dropping catches and committing errors on the field, then you need to question the fielding coach [R Sridhar] – why is it happening?” Azhar concluded.

India desperately need to put up a better fielding display in the third T20I on Tuesday (December 8), before heading into the four-match Test series starting at the Adelaide Oval from December 17.


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