ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
India haven't dropped a single catch in the two games this world cup but want to have more throws hitting the stumps directly © Getty
"It was almost like a skating rink," revealed R Sridhar, India's fielding coach, after the washout at Trent Bridge. Sridhar was referring to the risk of injury to players if they were to get on the field. Incidentally, that is exactly the attitude that he would expect his players to bring in, otherwise.
"The biggest thing that came out to me was the attitude of the fielders, where they put the team ahead of themselves, but these are the qualities which you need when you want to go out and win championships," said Sridhar and added, "they're willing to risk injuries to save that one run, which is a great quality to have."
India have not dropped any catches in their two games so far, one of only two teams to not have done it so far. But their biggest fielding impact so far came in the form of a run-out by Kedar Jadhav, to break a threatening opening stand against Australia. A good throw from the deep, saw Aaron Finch falling short after a misjudged second run. There was little wrong in that fielding effort, and if you were to clutch at some really thin straws, the only thing that could have been better was if it was a direct hit.
And direct hits are something that are on Sridhar's mind as an area of improvement for India. The scorecard doesn't log such details which is probably why Sridhar referred to it as a 'good observation' when asked about it. "It is something which I have my eye on as well, and we practice a lot for that," he said.
"I would say converting, whether it's a run-out or not, converting one in three or four throws is a good conversion rate, in my opinion. Don't judge me on that opinion, but in my opinion, picking up one out of four, you're doing a good job as a direct (hit) unit, but we failed to do that in the last game. We had over ten strikes, and we hit only once. In some days we hit three out of five. It's a practice thing and a system based thing, but that is one area we work hard on in every session."
Going closely with that line of thinking is the habit of throwing the ball, at the stumps or to the keeper particularly in the infield, at every given opportunity in the search of creating new ones.
"If there is an opportunity, we encourage the respective fielder to go for the stumps because we believe that his teammate will have his back, by backing up the throw. Sometimes it happens, and very rarely it doesn't happen. So we encourage fielders to create an opportunity where none exists. We encourage fielders to try and convert an opportunity which they have created.
"And in the bargain, we lose one here or there, it doesn't matter because on a good day we pull off two or three brilliant run-outs," he said.
England can also be a difficult country to adapt, especially for players from warmer climes, and this, he believes is a good way to keep them prepared.
"Also, if you keep throwing at the stump, it keeps your shoulder warm in conditions like this. If you don't throw and suddenly you get a chance for a run-out, your throw may not hit."
And there are other ways of toning your body to the conditions, while at work. "I thought hand warmers is obviously the first option to keep your hands warm. Also, if you're running around in the ground between overs or between field positions and throwing the ball around to the players, that also keeps you warm between overs and doesn't allow your body to cool down," opined Sridhar.