Sridhar: ‘We try to create multi-specialist fielders’

India's fielding coach R. Sridhar has said the thrust of India's fielding training is towards creating all-purpose fielders who can field in any position.

According to R. Sridhar, Umesh Yadav puts in the hard yards during practice sessions in terms of his catching and fielding.   -  R. Ragu

In order to maximise the fielding potential of the Indian team, efforts are being made to create multi-faceted fielders who can field in any position, according to fielding coach R. Sridhar, who has praised the fielding standards of the present limited-overs team.

“In one-day cricket, the main challenge for any fielding team is to suffocate batsmen. That is where Manish [Pandey], Virat [Kohli], Jaddu [Ravindra Jadeja] and Rohit are really useful,” Sridhar said ahead of India’s second One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand at Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday.

“We try and develop multi-specialist fielders, rather than sticking to specialist fielders. That is what the aim is for this team which comes down from M.S. [Dhoni], Virat [Kohli] and Anil himself. They would give equal importance to fielding as they would give to any other skill and try and create multi-specialist fielders, wherein the team benefits in terms of different phases of the game,” he said.

'Good athletes'

It was not just the young batsmen in the team who stood out for their fielding capabilities. Sridhar praised the fast bowlers for being ‘good athletes’, singling out Umesh Yadav as a standard setter in fielding among fast bowlers.

“It’s not just because of his athleticism that he is good. It is for the fact that he puts in quite a bit of yards during practice sessions in terms of his catching and fielding. That’s probably given him the edge. He’s put a new benchmark as far as fast bowlers fielders are concerned,” Sridhar said.

“We’re blessed to have some fast bowlers who are really good athletes. Umesh is fabulous; he’s got a great arm, moves really well across the ground. [Mohammad] Shami is a good athlete and in the past we had Mohit [Sharma] who was also a fabulous fielder,” he said.

Suresh Raina, one of the best known fielders in the Indian team in the last few years, has joined the team, it has been confirmed. However, his availability for the upcoming ODI in terms of fitness was uncertain.

“He’s being monitored,” the team management said.

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