Will have to start with tennis ball catching, says Team India’s fielding coach Sridhar – Times of India

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CHENNAI: Team India’s next assignment may be some months away but the side’s fielding coach R Sridhar is ensuring the players are in good space physically and mentally during the lockdown.

In a chat with TOI, Sridhar spoke on offering specific drills for players, the time it may take for players to become match-fit once the lockdown eases and more.
Excerpts:

How have you been in touch with the players during the lockdown?

I have been talking to them regularly for the last few weeks and ensuring that they get their fitness programmes. We need to get a date from the government of India or the BCCI and only then can we begin our work. Till then, we will ensure that the players are in good shape mentally and physically.

After being away for such a long time, what areas should fielders focus on once they are back?

As far as catching is concerned, once we are back I will begin by giving them some tennis ball catching because they wouldn’t have practised for a long time (12-14 weeks). All of sudden, I don’t want their hands to get injuries. I will slowly make them catch a semi-hard ball which is lighter than a cricket ball. Once they get used to it for a few days, we will graduate to the cricket ball. When it comes to throwing and fielding drills, we will gradually increase the workload because a sudden spike can lead to injuries.

Have you given specific drills to players so that they don’t become rusty?

Yes, some players may be locked inside an apartment and some may be in a farmhouse. Based on the space they have and the equipment they possess, we have given them the drills.

How many weeks will it take for players to be match fit once they start training?

As far as the fielding part is concerned, it will take a minimum of 3-4 weeks to be match-ready. For bowlers, it will be more than that. The workloads for players will have to be raised gradually.

How do you see the saliva ban working?

Ban on saliva will be huge and that’s something even Jimmy Anderson pointed out recently. I think our bowling coach B Arun will be looking into that aspect and see what can be done. He is perhaps the right man to answer that question.

Going forward, what according to you will be the next phase in the Indian fielding?

When we started, we wanted to have 11 top fielders and be one of the best fielding sides in the world. Down the road, we achieved that till the 2019 World Cup as we were probably the best fielding team. In the last 6-8 months we dropped a little bit for various reasons but we will once again improve. The goal is to reduce the number of bad days and increase the number of good days in all formats.

Who has been the most improved fielder?

Let’s start from the top. Virat Kohli was a great outfielder but he is a much-improved slip fielder now. Virat has worked hard on his slip catching skills. Rohit is another player who has improved his slip fielding skills and is very dependable in that region. Yuzvendra Chahal has improved a lot as he puts his heart and soul into it. Jasprit Bumrah and Kedar Jadhav are other players who have improved by leaps and bounds from what they were when they first came into the side.



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