Clumsy dives over the ball, with a lack of elegance that would make Jürgen Klinsmann cringe. Batsmen marooned in the crease admiring strokes that don’t make it to the boundary. Catches grassed, run-out chances squandered. Made-for-TV throws at the stumps when a simple lob to the wicketkeeper would do. The fielding coach sacked before a game had been played. If India do go on to defeat Australia in the ongoing seven-match one-day series, it’s almost certainly going to be despite their fielding and not because of it. That they’re even considered one of the top teams in the world when nearly half the squad are a liability in the field is a miracle in itself.
Some, though, are beginning to lose patience. In his column for the Mumbai Mirror, Suresh Menon, one of India’s most experienced cricket writers, harked back to a forgettable past. “In the early days of Indian cricket, the Maharajahs thought nothing of actually having their servants fielding for them,” he wrote. “Not even a Test captain — the Maharajkumar of Vizianagaram — was above this.
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