On a warm Friday afternoon at the Reliance Cricket Stadium, Jemimah Rodrigues was talking about the catch that made Sachin Tendulkar tweet in praise.
The teenage sensation of the Indian team said she had been working hard on her fielding. “Biju George, our fielding coach, has been of great help to me,” she said.
Biju would be happy to hear that. The Thiruvananthapuram-based coach has been in charge of the senior team’s fielding for over a year now.
Though India is an improved fielding side, there is still some way to go, he feels. One would have to agree with him, especially after watching the second ODI match against Australia here.
“Yes, those catches had to be taken. And that would have made a big difference to the match,” he said.
He said the players were keen to improve their fielding. “There are days when they make very few mistakes,” he said. “They need to be consistent, like this Australian side, who are the world’s best fielders. Our fielding is a work in progress. Remember, it has only been recently that women’s cricket has got its due in India.”
Biju has also been the fielding coach of the India Under-19 and has had a couple of stints at the IPL too. When he was a cricketer, fielding wasn’t his first love, bowling was.
“I chose to specialise in fielding as a coach because the teams would prefer to have former first-class cricketers to train them in batting and bowling,” Biju said.
“It is disappointing that I have been overlooked because I didn’t play first-class cricket. People forget the fact that IPL players like Sanju Samson, Sachin Baby, P. Prasanth and now K.M. Asif have all come from my academy in Thiruvananthapuram.”
There was a time when he had to plead the parents to send their kids to his academy. “Now I could not take in all those who come to me.
“It is gratifying to know that I have been able to train so many young cricketers without taking any fees. When I was young, I could not afford Rs. 50 that I needed to join an academy,” he said.