London, Aug 17 : With India’s ‘butter fingered’ slip-cordon struggling to hold on to catches, former slips specialist VVS Laxman feels the fielders are standing too close to each other, which is causing confusion between them. “Definitely, they are very close. I was the one who used to take the gap between the first slip, second slip and the third slip. When we were playing in sub-continental conditions it was six steps, moment we used to play overseas it used to be seven or eight because in overseas conditions there is more bounce and more carry for the fast bowlers,” Laxman said when asked about India’s woes in the slip cordon against England.
“So the distance can be maintained a bit more than in sub-continental conditions. They were very very close and that adds to the confusion,” he said in an ESPNcricinfo video show ‘Match Point’. Besides suicidal batting tendencies, India’s cricketers have been afflicted with ‘butter fingers’, dropping easy catches from which England captain Alastair Cook benefited in the fifth Test and in the third match. “I think, slip fielding is a confidence thing like batting and bowling. At the moment, the slip fielders in the current Indian team are low on confidence for obvious reasons because they have dropped a lot of catches but what was good to see is that they are capable of taking the catches.
“Murali Vijay showed that, Ajinkya Rahane showed in Southampton,” said Laxman, who was India’s dependable slip fielder along with Rahul Dravid for years. “So they are capable of taking catches but it is about consistency and also it is important for Dhoni not to chop and change the fielders in the slip cordon. You have to have specialist players who are actually in that position.” Indians have floored catches at crucial junctures of matches and that has allowed England to come back in the series after their loss to India at Lord’s in the second Test.
One such instance was at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton when Ravindra Jadeja floored a dolly off Pankaj Singh. An out-of-sorts Cook was batting on 15 then and roared back to form with a 95, which experts feel, was the turning point of England’s revival in the series. “I am not worried about the gap between the first slip and the keeper…Its more for the first, second and the third slip,I think the gap there is not much. They are very close and it adds to the confusion,” Laxman, who has 135 Test match catches to his name, said.