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‘India a bit lazy, Australia grabbed their moments’: Kaif explains the significance of slip catching in WTC Final

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Slip-catching in cricket requires hand-eye coordination, anticipation and immnese focus, and it’s a facet of the sport India has typically faltered in after Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman set excessive requirements. The current fielders haven’t at all times been capable of choose the velocity and route of the ball, leading to pricey and sometimes match-turning errors.

“It is all about coordination because it is a specialist position. In England, most wickets fall to catches behind the wicket since the ball moves a lot. So a slip fielder is always in play throughout the game,” observes former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif, the most effective fielders the nation has produced.

Hence, the probabilities missed within the cordon could make or break a recreation for a crew. India missed one such alternative in Australia’s second innings within the World Test Championship closing at The Oval when Alex Carey (batting on 41) edged the primary supply after lunch from Umesh Yadav, and the ball went between first slip Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli at second, with neither going for it. Both simply stood there, watching the ball fly previous them. One can argue that it was Kohli’s catch as a result of it was going to his proper aspect.

Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip and Virat Kohli at second slip watch an edge from Alex Carey (batting on 41) fly previous them. (SCREENGRAB)

“These things must be sorted out before you take the field. You can’t miss these chances,” harassed Kaif.

TV cameras additionally confirmed Pujara sporting pads whereas standing within the slips. “This is being lazy. In these moments, the fielder probably thinks there won’t be catches coming to slips, and there might be a declaration on the cards. But it was a vital stage of the game when India couldn’t afford lapses.”

“Shin pads make your movement slow, and you can’t bend properly. I don’t believe it doesn’t affect you,” Kaif added. “These are not mistakes that have happened for the first time. I have seen them happen again and again and no one gives it much thought.”

Anticipation is one other important talent for slip fielders. They should have the ability to learn the swing and predict the place the ball is more likely to go. This isn’t at all times straightforward, as batters could be unpredictable. However, the perfect slip fielders can learn the batter’s physique language and guess the place the ball might go.

“Converting half-chances can win you matches. Take a look at the half-chance that Steve Smith had offered in the first innings when the ball fell short of Kohli at slip. Australia were at 190, and if Smith had fallen then, who knows what might have happened.”

“In England and Australia where there is bounce on offer, slips stand almost 25 yards behind the stumps. In Asia, you stand nearer to the batter. So, someone like Kohli must know where he needs to stand so that he takes these chances. These are ways in which you can win games for your team.”

Eyes on the ball

Concentration can also be important for slip fielders. They should have the ability to give attention to the ball for the complete supply. The greatest slip fielders can block out all distractions.

Citing the hassle from Smith in taking Kohli’s catch on the fifth day, Kaif mentioned that it was a textbook catch. Smith took it with each arms, diving to his proper. It confirmed he was trying on the ball right through. It was not all about reflexes however common habits.

“Like batting, slip-fielding is also about staying in your box and focusing on every ball. The catch that Smith took of Kohli does not come often in a game, and it came on the last day of the game. But Smith was ready. He had got his basics right,” mentioned Kaif.

“It is a routine you follow every time you go into the cordon. If the routine and basics are good, it does not matter if it is the first ball of the game or the last; it will help you. All the best catchers follow this routine,” defined Kaif.

“A lot of people talk about the ball wobbling in England. But it wouldn’t matter much if the fielder has all his basics covered, and his technique is right. Relaxed feet, eyes on the ball, not grabbing but letting the ball come to you. When you bend the knee, how much will you bend? How wide are your feet? All these small things matter; this is probably where Australia won the game. Winning those small but crucial moments is what helped them,” he concluded.