Indians Miss Cut in Jonty's Best List


Durban, May 13: Three weeks into the IPL and yet none of the Indians feature in Jonty Rhodes’ list of best fielders for the tournament. 

According to the Mumbai Indians fielding coach, Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, David Warner and JP Duminy are the best in the tournament so far.

"Indian fielding standards have gone up, but they are still not world-class in my book," Rhodes told the TOI during an exclusive chat.

According to the South African legend, it’s the footwork, ability to enjoy and intensity that go into the making of great fielders. "And you should understand that a great fielder is brilliant in any position, be it backward point or long on. India probably still lack the allround fielders," Rhodes added.

But he does concede that the Indian fielding standards have gone up significantly since the time he was playing cricket. "In my playing days, the two Indian fielders who used to throw themselves around were Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif. But now, they are understanding the necessity of being good fielders and that’s showing," Rhodes said, adding that Mumbai’s Ajinkya Rahane has impressed him quite a lot.

"A good fielder has to expect that every ball is coming to him, more so in T20 cricket. A little mistake here and there can really turn the tables," Rhodes said, explaining the necessity to work on the athleticism.

What is so special about somebody like Gibbs? "It’s his ability to be in the game all the time while fielding. He knows when the ball is coming to him. He is equally efficient with the catching and his throwing," Rhodes explained.

The South African also mentioned how with the advent of T20 cricket, it has become impossible to hide bad fielders in the ground. "You just cannot afford to have somebody who is not good in fielding. I am not saying there won’t be specialist batsmen or bowlers, but the fielding has to be of a certain level, otherwise that particular player is
virtually a misfit in the combination," Rhodes.

There have been a good many high catches that have been dropped in the IPL so far, and Rhodes believes it has to do with the weather conditions of some of the grounds.

"I guess more catches have been dropped in places like Pretoria and Johannesburg, where the air is thinner and the ball goes very high. These Indian domestic players, who are new to the South African conditions, are at times finding it difficult to latch on to those chances under lights."

But he feels that it’s a temporary phase. "All these boys are learning fast and this is bound to help Indian cricket in the long run."  


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