Daily Archives: 8 April 2007

The fielding coach

BCCI have just announced that Robin Singh will take over as fielding coach for the Bangladesh tour. Having a fielding coach is a very good idea and having Robin Singh in the coaching team is a good idea too. However, I am somehow not convinced that having Robin Singh as the fielding coach is a good idea.

Fielding in my opinion consists of three primary things –

  • Throwing
  • Ground fielding
  • Catching

These three things have been perfected in baseball more than cricket and I think we need a coach from the baseball world. Here are my main reasons –

  • In baseball, accuracy of the throw is very important. A miscued or slow throw can easily allow the runner to advance to the next base. As a result, baseball throwing techniques have been perfected to be fast and accurate. They are also known to be less strenuous on the throwing arm.
  • Baseball makes use of a cut-off man, who usually intercepts a long throw and relay throws it to the right base. Indians usually have a poor arm and their accuracy is usually pretty bad too. They can use this method to cover more distance as well as  improve speed and accuracy. Remember the Brian Lara run out against NZ in the 2003 World cup? That is an excellent example of the relay throw method.
  • Fielding techniques are also a lot more advanced in baseball than cricket. A single run in baseball is worth quite a lot and fielding in baseball revolves around preventing them. They have perfected the way to slide stop and dive stop, as well as using their bodies as backstops. We can benefit quite a lot from learning baseball fielding techniques.
  • Catching in baseball is usually easier than cricket as every fielder uses gloves. But their training methods for catching are more evolved than ours, with emphasis on soft hands, catching on the run and getting into position for a catch.

Granted, you cannot teach old dogs new tricks and people like Ganguly or Kumble will never be able to do a dive stop like a Symonds or a Rhodes, but the emphasis is on building a young team and the youngsters will benefit enormously from a Baseball fielding coach.

I hope BCCI gives some serious thought to this after the Bangladesh tour.

-Mahesh-

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News in brief: Sunday 8 April 2007

-Mahesh-

India Team moving forward…

The BCCI has requested its selectors to choose a “young” team to visit Bangladesh early next month to play a round of ODIs there. So, who will go?

It seems likely that a few of the “seniors” will be rested. It is likely that Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Ajit Agarkar will be part of the players’ group that is “rested”.

Sourav Ganguly may (just may) hang on to his place. But I somehow doubt that too.

The “rested” senior players could be replaced by players like Manoj Tiwari, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma and Romesh Powar. S. Badrinath may come in for Anil Kumble. I can’t see Irfan Pathan going to Bangladesh. Joginder Sharma may come in for Pathan.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is another big question mark. He doesn’t quite fit into the “truant seniors” block. However, it is likely that the selectors may look at his endorsement-mania and use this as an opportunity to send him a message too. I won’t be surprised if he is taken along and does not get a game.

The XV for Bangladesh could then be:

Robin Uthappa
Gautam Gambhir
Suresh Raina / S. Badrinath
Manoj Tiwari
Rahul Dravid
Rohit Sharma / Mohammed Kaif
Dinesh Karthik / M.S.Dhoni
Joginder Sharma
Romesh Powar
Munaf Patel
S. Sreesanth / Ishant Sharma

This team is still short of a proven all rounder. It is also probably weak in the bowling department. So, it is likely that Irfan Pathan will get a back-door look-in.

— Mohan

Are the Indians Vindicated?

With Bangladesh almost certain to win against South Africa (two more wickets of SA to go at this point!), can we say that the Indians are vindicated? Seriously, I personally thought it has been a fantastic performance by the Bangladeshis. Ashraful batted brilliantly (some of his shots reminded me of Tendulkar in his heyday) and they have fielded outstandingly well. As is the case most of the time, direct hits at stumps can win games and the Bangladeshis did it with aplomb. Good luck to them and hope they go on to create more upsets. Boy! does this open up the World Cup… I am hoping this brings back some of badly needed excitement in this championship.

– Srikanth

Small first steps…

The BCCI meeting produced a few small first steps. These are important steps. Firm steps.

  • Rahul Dravid, who has largely held his counsel, has been rewarded with an extended captaincy run. He is captain of India for its forthcoming series of Bangladesh, England and the matches in Ireland. This is good. India needs strong leadership at this point in time.
  • The graded system of contracts has been replaced with a standard fee for all. This is a retrograde step, but in this current environment it is bound to send a “perform or perish” message to players. There will be bonuses for series wins.
  • But most importantly, the BCCI has imposed constraints on player endorsements. This is a good move. A strong move. A move that was long overdue.
  • The BCCI has also urged the selectors to lean towards youth for the forthcoming tours.
  • It was important that the management has indicated that the result was disappointing. However, it was a time to rebuild and not to panic. N. Srinivasan, the BCCI treasurer, said, “it is not the end of the world. We have to move forward and I am sure we will do well in future. By retaining Dravid as captain, we want to send out a signal that there is no cause for panic.”
  • Three good moves in the coaching support staff followed. Robin Singh has been appointed fielding coach. Venkatesh Prasad is the bowling coach. And Ravi Shastri is the interim coach/manager.
  • In a year, zonal selectors will be replaced by fulltime professional selectors.
  • The Board has also appointed a professional media manager and a professional team manager.
  • But the main move that gladdened by heart was the constraint that each player will be allowed a maximum of three endorsements a year and players will not be allowed to film any commercials up to two weeks prior to any series. In my view this should have been 3-4 weeks prior to a series, but again, this was a strong message to players. In addition, not more than two players can endorse the same product. This was along the lines that was suggested on this blogsite last week.
  • Lastly, all international players would be forced to play a specified number of domestic games every season. This is another strong move and a strong message. The Ranji Trophy Elite group is to be reduced from 15 teams to 10 by 2008-09. This is still 4 teams too many. However, it is a step in the right direction.

— Mohan