India best in the world when it comes to ground fielding, claims R Sridhar
What's the story?
Indian Cricket team fielding coach R Sridhar claimed that Virat Kohli's side are the best in the world in terms of ground fielding and also praised the work put in by the fast bowlers to improve their fielding and fitness levels.
"As far as ground fielding is concerned we are the best in the world. The IPL is a major contributor as fielding is given more importance. Not only have fitness levels vastly improved but also the awareness around it," Sridhar was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
Sridhar claimed that Mohammad Shami has the best arm in the country and reserved special praise for Jasprit Bumrah for making remarkable progress on the fitness front.
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With the advent of T20 cricket and the IPL, players are more than ever focussed on improving their fitness levels and fielding.
Almost every team has a specialised person to take care of these aspects and there is no doubt that India now possesses a potent fielding unit which has played a huge part in helping India clinch those crucial moments in matches like Rohit Sharma's spectacular catch against New Zealand in the T20 decider, along with two crucial run-outs.
The heart of the matter
India has historically never been considered a good fielding side but slowly, that thought is changing with the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif creating a sea-change in the way the Indian team approached fielding.
It has been carried forward by the likes of Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, and R Sridhar, who has been with the Indian side since 2014, apart from the tour to West Indies earlier this year, is focussed on maintaining that standard and keep improving wherever possible.
The 47-year-old is especially happy with the way the side's fast bowling unit has adhered to his words about the importance of being good fielders.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's fitness levels earned Sridhar's praise while he is also focussing on making newcomer Mohammad Siraj, who he claimed as a good athlete, a better fielder.
The Indian team have been on a roll in recent times under Virat Kohli's leadership and will next take on Sri Lanka in a full-fledged series at home beginning with the Test series on November 16, before heading to South Africa.
While Sridhar's comments may be up for debate, there is no doubt that India has improved their fielding remarkably over the years with more focus being placed on the importance of every player contributing on the field.
Fitness is another important issue as the packed international calendar gives very little time for players to rest and recoup and any injury setback could prove detrimental to the team's cause as well as for the player himself with the level of competition in the side.