Former Indian Cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin has said that either side of India's batting and bowling, the team's catching, especially in the slips, has been a concern for a while in overseas conditions and the time has come that the team management makes this one of their priorities.
Ever since the retirement of greats like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, India's slip catching has been a major issue when the team travels abroad and Azhar, who was a terrific fielder during his playing days, is aware of these problems.
Suggesting that the team management fields specialist slip catchers, Azharuddin was quoted saying, “Slip fielding is a specialist's job. You can't get anybody and everybody to stand there. That's what is happening to the Indian team, Players play a lot of T20s and ODIs now and slip hardly matters. But you should still practice and take 50 to 60 catches everyday. We need to identify players who are willing to do that.”
Azharuddin, who was being unveiled as the Brand Ambassador of the Karnataka Premier League side Bijapur Bulls at a function, further added, “You first need to stand correctly, Fielders nowadays stand erect. Then you can't get to catches which fall at your feet. You should crouch. Then, even jumping up to catch the ball isn't tough. When you field for spinners, your reactions and reflexes have to be good. Concentration is important. Slip fielders should also learn to adjust their positions according to where the wicketkeeper stands. Nothing comes easy. You need to keep practising.”
Giving his insight on the debatable non-selection of Cheteshwar Pujara for the first Test in Edgbaston, Azharuddin said, “Pujara has generally struggled abroad and players have been picked on current form. Pujara went to England early but couldn't score runs. This is a golden chance for K. L. Rahul to cement his place. He has done well in patches but not consistently.”
(Inputs from SPORTSTAR Live)