India’s average fielding performance during the second T20I against West Indies on Sunday emerged as a letdown, with former captain Sunil Gavaskar reckoning the players need to up their game in the field if they are to lift the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
India dropped a couple of vital catches in Trivandrum, the most significant being Washington Sundar’s miss which gave Lendl Simmons a reprieve early on into his innings. Rishabh Pant slipped up behind the wicket as he failed to hang on to a catch of Evin Lewis. As it turned out, Simmons, with an unbeaten half-century and Lewis, with a crucial 40 added 73 runs for the opening wicket as West Indies chased down 171 and levelled the series.
India is one of the best fielding units in the world but their occasional mistakes in the field has left audience and former cricketers wondering. Gavaskar claims that in order to win a World Cup in Australia, India need to save more runs in the field to put pressure on the opposition.
“I think fielding is the most important thing. You save runs, you put pressure on the opposition. The Indian team has been doing really well. But I think the more they do in the fielding department, take catches and save more runs, the easier it will become for them,” Gavaskar told IANS.
On the eve of the third T20I, Rohit Sharma mentioned how India are better chasers than they are at defending totals. Gavaskar, however believes it’s a common problem and most of the teams find it tough batting first and defending totals.
“In T20 cricket, it’s not just India but there are other teams as well who are not good at defending the totals. In the first T20I, even West Indies couldn’t defend a total which was in excess of 200. So, it’s not just a situation with India, it’s generally with most other teams as well. They find it difficult to defend,” said Gavaskar.
“As matches are played in the evening, the dew factor also plays a huge role. The bowlers are not able to bowl properly with the wet ball. Even the fielders find it difficult to field as they don’t get a good grip on the ball when they are fielding in the deep and are throwing. So, fielding wise also, it’s difficult and that’s why I think, teams find it difficult when it comes to defending the totals in T20s.”