Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

After contrasting victories against arch-rival Pakistan and minnow Netherlands, Team India got a reality check when they were beaten by South Africa at a close encounter in a Super 12 match of the T20 World Cup.

Against South Africa, after posting a victory target of 134, India started strongly as Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami plucked early wickets. However, the good work of the bowlers was undone by sloppy fielding. Former skipper Virat Kohli dropped an easy Aiden Markram catch and current captain Rohit Sharma missed an easy run-out chance of the same player, eventually, it costs Men in Blue the match.

Several experts slammed Team India players for their sloppy fielding. As per many experts, Rohit Sharma-led team is not concentrating on their basic fielding techniques. 

Former India player Ajay Jadeja, who himself has been a terrific outfielder in his heyday said that the current crop of players in the Indian team are not giving importance to fielding anymore.

“Last time I heard about Indian team giving importance to fielding was when Virat Kohli became the captain. Kohli had taken a very good decision of including only those players, who are good fielders and they have good fitness standard. Kohli is no longer the captain and the coach has also been changed. The new captain is not bothered about fielding. He is more concerned about batting and bowling. So, the current players are not much athletic,” said Jadeja.

Well, in the semifinal stage, the gap between the top teams could be very narrow. One dropped catch or a misfielding could prove to be match point for the other team as the margin for the error is too little. 

With Team India looking almost certain to seal a berth in the semifinals, the team management should introspect seriously about their fielding standard. Fielding department seems to be India’s Achilles heel at the moment. Men in Blue should raise their fielding standards a notch higher to have any kind of impact at the top four stage of the mega event.