ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Canada v New Zealand, World Cup 2011, Group A, Mumbai

Canada forget fielding basics

On a day when Canada made their highest score against a Test-playing nation, Ashish Bagai will disappointed at the rubbish fielding on display

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mumbai

March 13, 2011

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A

Ashish Bagai showed grit, determination, patience and character trying to add respect to Canada's pursuit of a massive target. Unfortunately cramps and a mounting asking rate took their toll on Canada's captain. It was sad that Bagai missed out on a becoming the first centurion for Canada in this World Cup on a day they made their highest score against a Test-playing country. It was a sore miss. But looking at the broader picture, Bagai will be more disappointed at the rubbish fielding on display when New Zealand's batsmen built their domination. All those qualities Bagai brought to his batting, Canada's fielders neglected. It only cast them in poor light.

The frustrating part was the errors were mostly to do with the basics of fielding: positioning, lining up, being pro-active, backing up to throws, holding catches with soft hands, improvising... the list of things Canada's fielders failed in doing was longer than the longest boundary at the Wankhede. Take for example Henry Osinde, who was standing at short fine-leg when Brendon McCullum, on 71, swept Balaji Rao and tried going for a single. Osinde, a tall man no doubt, failed to cleanly collect the ball initially because he had failed to take a start. Then when McCullum was casual in returning to the crease, the Canadian failed to throw back the ball or worse go for a direct hit. Fielding coaches like Mike Young have always drilled this into a fielder: when the doubt exists whether or not to throw at the stumps, do so. It only builds an aggressive mindset.

It was just not the ground fielding. Even straightforward catches like Zubin Sarkari, failing to latch on to a low catch from Jesse Ryder, John Davison shelling a return catch from Kane Williamson when the batsman was on 1 only dented the confidence of the bowlers. Williamson survived another chance when Harvir Baidwan managed to let one slither through his hands and between his feet. The New Zealander, playing his first match, finished unbeaten on 34. But the worst mistake came when Rizwan Cheema, standing at long-on, failed to improvise trying to hold on to the big hit from Ross Taylor. It was a difficult chance as Cheema, standing on the edges of boundary, had to intercept the ball's flight while making sure he did not touch the rope or cross over. Teams now have customised training sessions for such catches and make sure fielders understand the right methods to carry out such catches in order to avoid any mishaps during a match.


Ashish Bagai suffered cramps, Canada v New Zealand, World Cup 2011, Group A, Mumbai, March 13 2011
Ashish Bagai gave his all before cramp got the better of him. Pity his fielders can't say the same thing © AFP
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Of all the three departments of cricket, fielding is one area where every team stands at par - there is absolutely no distinction in the quality between Test-playing countries and the Associates. Fielding is a discipline that can only be sharpened by working hard on it, by finding ways to exert pressure, by training specialist fielders for specific positions. You don't need experience or exposure. What you need is a presence of mind, more than a little bit of agility, reflexes and to remain pro-active. The best fielders don't react, they just put themselves in a spot where they can make a difference.

Bagai was honest about admitting that Canada were terrible in the field. "It was very, very frustrating to me. I will be very honest. It was probably the worst effort we had in a very long time in the field," Bagai said after the 100-run defeat. "The catches and the ground fielding were awful. That put us back and put is in a hole chasing 350. We did not put any pressure on them by letting couple of guys having singles and twos in the outfield. It was a collective poor fielding effort by the team."

Automatically if the fielders are alert sometimes even a bad ball can be offset. The biggest advantage is it puts pressure on the batsman, who is then forced to change his gameplans. Otherwise, as Canada found out today, batsmen can even sleepwalk and get away with the crime.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 3 
Posted by   on (March 14, 2011, 17:54 GMT)

in canadian team, out of 11 player 7 are above 30+, only two are young and rest are injured like bagai and surkari.and as ATAPATTU said " they just want to finish the game " . so how anybody in canadian team are really focuse for that game..

Posted by interkiwiwebdevelopers on (March 14, 2011, 9:22 GMT)

Think back to the 2003 CWC in Sth Africa when Canada were bowled out for just 36, now their batting is improving alot and they have even given England and Pakistan scares, so although cricketing officianados think Canada got absolutely thumped, they actually did quite well with the bat and instead of succumbing to Kyle Mills, Tim Southee etc they actually put some decent runs on the board and actually were hungry to getting closer. If they weren't wanting to be competitive they would have got nowhere near the 250 odd runs they managed to get. If they played more games against top-flight opposition then they would be able to see the differences that could take them from being defeated by 100 runs against Test playing nations to actually coming very close and even winning. I know Kenya have been very shambolic and havn't helped the Associates cause but Canada are getting better and better and with a good 1st class structure in place and sound development strategies they will go far :).

Posted by   on (March 13, 2011, 18:51 GMT)

Canada managed to get within 97 runs of a mammoth target of 359. Credit for this needs to go to Ash Bagai and Jimmy Hansra, who have been Canada's two best batsmen in this tournament. Had Canada's fielding been better, who knows how close this game could have been. I really don't think Canada are that far away from being able to compete with the best.

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