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.


3 responses to “The fielding coach

  1. A colleague of mine currently plays for Division one baseball and used to represent Victoria in their AAA championship which is equivalent to Australian state level in cricket. According to him fielding drills (training techniques) in baseball are far advanced than cricket.

    One of the key points he mentioned was cricket’s obsession with the ‘strong arm’ concept.

    Apparently, this is not of primary importance in baseball as there are specific drills to strengthen throwing arms. Even average baseballers can hurl the ball with great velocity through practising and perfecting the throwing technique.

    Mahesh, you are right; the BCCI should get baseball fielding coach. The Aussies have already done it and you can easily see that their ground fielding including ball pursuing, interception and release are far superior to other teams.

    Imagine an Indian team with the likes of Uthappa, Raina, Kaif, Yuvraj and Karthik in the inner circle under a baseball coach!!



  2. Mahesh and Vish: Totally agree with both of you. Getting a fielding coach is, however, a step in the right direction for the BCCI. Dravid has been saying for sometime now that specialist coaches are needed. He has got one now. I think this is a compromise solution till they find a new full-time coach who comes in with his own team. At that time, I hope the BCCI gets a proper “baseball-style” fielding coach at that point in time.

    The Australians improved their fielding under Mike Young, a baseball coach. He lifted the fielding standards of the Aussie team to new levels. So much so that the world sat up and took notice.

  3. Pingback: The Mike Young article « i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

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