India fans pose for photos
India fans pose in the rain at the match between India and New Zealand at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Image Credit: Reuters

Nottingham: It was a frustrating wait for the Indian team at Trent Bridge. R. Sridhar, the fielding coach, gave a peek into what was going on in the dressing room while the Indian team waited for the New Zealand match to happen.

“It is frustrating to wait in the dressing room on a rainy day. What is more of a challenge for the players and the support staff is to switch down but not really switch off completely because the match could start at any time. So one needs to keep yourself prepared in the back of the mind. At the same time, one does not want to think too much about the game and try to keep yourself a little busy, reading, listening to some music, or chatting with friends. But then, we deal with it all the time.”

Sridhar was candid enough to admit that it wasn’t an ideal situation to be in before a big match like Pakistan on Sunday.

“It’s uncontrollable, isn’t it? You really can’t control the weather. We had two good games, and came here looking forward to the third good one; unfortunately, that did not happen. I went on to the ground. It was almost like a skating rink. So that would have put too much risk on the players to play there, especially during the early phase of the tournament.”

The chilly weather is now likely to hurt fielders more while taking catches. The fielding coach revealed that hand warmers will be a must.

“Hand warmers will be the first option to keep your hands warm. But if you’re running around in the ground between overs or between fielding positions and throwing the ball around to the players, that also keeps you warm between overs and doesn’t let your body to cool down. And since we practice in the same conditions, that also gives us a heads up. They are professional cricketers, supposed to be the best in the world. So they will put in their best efforts to hold on to a cricket ball, but then the nature of the beast is such that you catch some and you drop some. So it’s all part of the game.”

Sridhar has been working hard with the team to get their fielding to be sharper. Since Pakistan has not been good with their fielding, does that give India the edge?

“Fielding is vital in every match. We saw that in The Oval on Sunday when we played Australia. Although we had a big total on the board, we had to field out of our skins to defend that total. In this World Cup, the format is so good that every game is vital, and that is why we need to be on top of the game.”

While assessing the Indian team’s fielding, he was willing to name some players and their strong points.

“I’m personally very happy with the kind of resources I have. We have a terrific slip catcher and a safe catcher in Rohit [Sharma], and we have two guys, Virat [Kohli] and [Kedar] Jadhav, who are very intimidating in their positions. They can intimidate any batsman prowling in the 30-yard range. To complement that, we have a player in Hardik Pandya who can really help when needed. The biggest thing that I see is the attitude of the fielders, where they put the team ahead of themselves. And these are the qualities which you need when you want to go out and win championships. It was good to see this coming out well in our last game. Now, what is important to stay consistent. And the biggest challenge will be to reduce the time between the good days and bad days. That is integral.”