India's shocking fielding in the limelight despite a 10-wicket victory over Nepal

There has been a problem with India’s fielding for some time now, and it was pretty evident again against Nepal.
 
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Be it catching efficiency or ground fielding - the Men in Blue were torpid in every aspect.

There has been a problem with India’s fielding for some time now, and it was pretty evident again against Nepal. India were absolutely shocking on the field throughout the innings. Be it catching efficiency or ground fielding - the Men in Blue were torpid in every aspect.

The fielding standards were high in the team a few years back, but that mark has become shockingly low in the last couple of years. On Monday, there were uncountable errors made by almost every player at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

The Indian fielders dropped as many as three catches in the first four-and-a-half overs yesterday, and the players guilty were Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan. Barring Shreyas’ one, which was also catchable, the other ones were as straightforward as they could get at this level.

Virat and Shreyas are known to be among the best fielders, while Kishan has gloves to make the job easier. Moreover, the sloppy fielding enabled Nepal to get those extra runs numerous times. It was probably the worst fielding display from India in a long time, and the recent signs are alarming.

According to the data posted by cricket.com, India have dropped the second-most number of catches (47) after the West Indies (49) in ODIs since 2022. It is a horrendous stat in numerous ways. There can be a debate that India play too many games, but this is still unacceptable, as it shows that they make errors in almost every game.

A graphic shown by the broadcasters during the first innings revealed that India’s catching efficiency (75.1%) is the second-worst after Afghanistan's (71.2%) after World Cup 2019. So, one thing is clear - the issue has been for quite some time now. And the case is only getting worse with each passing match.

Before the start of Asia Cup 2023, cricket.com posted a stat showing the catching efficiency of each player in the team. The Indian captain Rohit Sharma had the worst numbers, as he has taken only 73% of the catches after the 2019 World Cup. Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan are the joint second-worst, with only 75% catching efficiency.

Remember the first ODI between Bangladesh and India last year, where KL Rahul dropped an easy catch of Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the 43rd over? Mehidy went on to win the game for his team by one wicket. India lost that match out of nowhere.

Similarly, Arshdeep Singh dropped a dolly off Asif Ali on 0 in the Asia Cup last year. Asif added crucial 16 runs in 7 balls, including two boundaries and a maximum, to help Pakistan win a last-over thriller. If we go even further, India dropped as many as four catches against Australia back in 2020 in the first ODI in Sydney. The list doesn’t end here; these are only some of the substantial blunders Indian fielders have committed in the past few years.

There is a popular debate nowadays that fielding doesn’t matter and that the bowlers should be capable of producing more chances. While this theory is correct to an extent, there is another way to look at it. The quality batters don’t give too many opportunities, so the fielders have to take everything that comes their way.

On Monday, Nepal saved runs and looked more active than Indian fielders despite fielding on wet ground. Due to being sloppy, India let Nepal get to a total of 230 in the first innings when they could have easily restricted them to under 200. Now imagine such a fielding show against a top-ranked team, and they will make India suffer as South Africa did in the T20 World Cup last year.

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