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 –
- Ground fielding
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.