When you concede easy singles from mid-on and mid-off, end up with fumbles galore, are willingly hit by batsmen for boundaries and put down regulation catches, it is time for a serious introspection. When the support staff is unable to play its specialised role to perfection one would introspect all the more.
India’s fielding and bowling woes continued to expose the team’s inconsistency and inadequacies in these two important aspects of the game. “I always thought I was the lousiest fielder. I am not,” remarked former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, his laughter summing up India’s fielding standards. Even the electric Virat Kohli, so symbolically, mis-fielded this afternoon to the anguish of the Eden spectators.
Why does Zaheer Khan not take a start? India’s fielding coach, Trevor Penney, was confronted with this question. “He’s got his methods. He is bowling a lot and playing a lot of cricket. He’s doing well. I don’t want to comment on him.” Penney’s assessment was quick and sharp.
The Indian fielders presented a sad sight — those who stood with hands on knees in close-in positions and those banished to the outfield to protect the boundary. Wrong men in critical spots portrayed the Indians in poor light.
“We have got lot of different slip fielders,” was his response on Thursday to Cheteshwar Pujara standing in slips instead of Virender Sehwag, who returned to his position and took a good catch too. Penney, however, conceded the absence of “our best fielders” in positions like mid-on and mid-off.”
Ishant Sharma dropped the return catch of Alastair Cook because of the momentum that carried him into the path of the ball. “He is not watching the batsmen when he emerges from his follow-through. It can be tough to take a return catch,” said former Test all-rounder Madan Lal in defence of the Delhi cricketer.
The continued failure of the bowlers to stem the flow of runs disappointed Kapil Dev. “I can understand some of them having some technical issues with their run up or follow-through but what of the basics. I could not notice any planning. The bowlers appeared to be going though the motions,” said the former Test all-rounder.
“If you are unable to take wickets at least dry the runs,” said former Test seamer Venkatesh Prasad. Dhoni was exasperated with the bowlers repeatedly straying in line. “Ishant was attempting too different line,” noted Madan.
It was exemplified in one glaring instance when Dhoni put six men on the on and Ishant conceded a cover-driven boundary to Pietersen. It summed up India’s inconsistency.