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Fielding lets Team India down
by Krish Srikkanth
Aug 28, 2007

It is really difficult to fathom what is going through Rahul Dravid's mind at the moment. The decision to bowl after winning the toss was an elementary mistake that literally handed over the game to the hosts. Playing a batsman short, India would have been served better batting first. A couple of early wickets ensured it would always be an uphill climb against a stiff target.

The wicket at Edgbaston has always been a tough one to predict. The strip slows down a bit towards the second innings and history clearly points that chasing is not the best option here. Dravid should have lent a ear to that and given the way his side has gone about things; batting first a setting a target in excess of 260 would have well given India the lead in the series. All the visitors would have needed was one good partnership while batting first and the momentum would have carried them to a challenging total if not a winning one.

Chasing a target always has its pros and cons. The pressure gets magnified when there aren't wickets in hand and even when M.S. Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh were at the crease it only looked like a lost battle. The difference between chasing and setting a target is the difference between chalk and cheese and the second game proved beyond doubt where Team India's strength lies and it is a pity the skipper did not make notice of it.

Once the initiative was lost England were always going to run with a formidable score and the lackadaisical Indian approach on the field only made matters more difficult for their own self. There has been too much talk on the Indian fielding everyone seems to know where the faults lie but there are hardly any corrective measures that are being taken. Catches continue to be put down, extra runs are being allowed and returns from the outfield are not quick. The overall picture is a throwback to an earlier era where effort on the field was given least priority.

The modern one-day game is an increasing demand on the player's body; and runs let off by poor catching and fielding only adds to the pressure. The running between the wickets was equally pathetic. No team can afford the luxury of staying put and not pushing hard. The top-order batsmen must be on their toes, it is not easy to pick boundaries of every over, singles and twos form a essential ingredient too and the sooner the team understands this the better it would for them.

The bowling lacks a tactical touch. Bowlers tend to look for swing when there is anything available and pitch the ball at a drivable length. And they try to hit the deck when the seam has softened that allows the batsmen to hit the ball square of the wicket. India needs to come back strongly and they have to continue with the seven-batsman theory. One bowler is anyway going to have an off-day so it would only be better for Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh to share the fifth bowlers quota.

The lack of an all-rounder is clearly showing but there is no point in looking for a solution when there is none available. Dravid has to play to his strength's, which is batting, He must make first use of the wicket whenever an opportunity presents itself and try and bat England out of the match rather than expect his bowlers to provide the desired result. The first three matches have clearly showed what the Indian's lack. It is time to pick the threads and start again.

More Views by Krish Srikkanth
  Strength of mind carries England home
  Fielding lets Team India down
  Team India: Stay positive and series is yours
  A two-match series for India
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