New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington, 3rd day

India fielding 'fantastic' overall - Pujara

Abhishek Purohit in Wellington

February 16, 2014

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A
'Overall the Indian fielding has been fantastic' - Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara has said that India did what they could with the ball but Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling batted superbly to deny them. McCullum was put down twice - on 9, by Virat Kohli and on 36, by Ishant Sharma - but Pujara maintained India's fielding had been "fantastic" and that the odd dropped catch was inevitable.

"Have to give credit to their batsmen," Pujara said. "Brendon batted well and that partnership was very crucial for them. We tried our best but they were the winners in that last session."

India had New Zealand down on 94 for 5 in the 38th over, but the bowlers failed to disturb the McCullum-Watling stand for the next 61 overs. The pitch was getting better for batting every day, Pujara felt, and said considering that, the Indian bowlers had performed well. "Our bowlers did a very good job and bowled in the right areas. They didn't allow them to score many runs, a good sign for us. Overall looking at the wicket they bowled really well. It is just that we didn't get as many wickets as we wanted but still we did a pretty good job."

Ishant Sharma was a touch late to react to a return chance , New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, 3rd day, Wellington, February 16, 2014
Ishant Sharma could not hold on to a return chance from Brendon McCullum when the batsman was on 36 © Associated Press

New Zealand's lead is still only six runs and while Pujara said India would want to chase as few as possible, he felt India still held the advantage, and it was a matter of a breakthrough next morning. "Really fantastic game so far. But we are still in a very good position. If we can get a couple early wickets then we can go through the tailenders. A lot of time is available. We are happy with the way things have shaped up. We could have been happier with a couple more wickets but we are in a good position and a good chance to win this Test match."

India could have possibly closed out the game had they taken the chances McCullum offered, but Pujara said the visitors had been doing decently on that front for a while now. "If you look at both the Test matches we have taken so many good catches. So you are bound to drop a few catches. Overall the Indian fielding as been fantastic, not only this tour but also in South Africa. There were quite a few good run-outs and catches. It is not good to pinpoint a couple dropped catches or missed chances. It happens in this game, each and every team goes through this phase."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 17, 2014, 8:00 GMT)

Pujara, what say now? Catches win matches. Match is now out of our hands. Well, we might even lose from here!! It is highly unbecoming of a young cricketer like you to brush aside two simple dropped catches. Or is there a culture of 'I scratch your back and you scratch my back' in our team and so you are trying to be soft on them so that they will also be soft on you when you drop one? It's a shame that a player of your caliber should talk so easily about two simple catches that were floored. If fielders don't hold on to catches, how else a batsmen will get dismissed. Only bowled and LBWs? I'm your die-hard fan. But I love India more than any single player. I'll be the first to point out even if my most favourite player talks rubbish. And you spoke rubbish yesterday, Pujara.

Posted by circit on (February 17, 2014, 0:31 GMT)

agree with SanjivAwesome. Pujara himself standing under the lid could not stop a single ball going past him from either side and on top of it he is using lovely adjectives about indian fielding just make a fool out of the spectators. Dhoni could use Kohli or Rohit Sharma to have a go at this pair of NZ batsmen just to see if that could give him a break through. You can't keep your main stream bowlers bowl over after over and have them exhausted. Give them break change the line of sight bring in some orthodox bowlers in like Kohli as he bowls with the wrong foot.

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

Sounds so much like our captain m s dhoni

Posted by Blade-Runner on (February 16, 2014, 20:59 GMT)

prasanna_79 : They can't survive against Wagner and you are talking about going up against Aussies.

Posted by USIndianFan on (February 16, 2014, 20:43 GMT)

Drop Kohli for a match? Also bring in Gambhir instead of Vijay. The fielding needs to get more professional.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (February 16, 2014, 19:54 GMT)

I am an India cricket fan. I know that the words "fantastic" and our team's "fielding" don't go together. Pujara could have used a more credible vocabulary, like "we tried our usual best". Team Dhoni & Fletcher remains on target to lose another overseas series 0-1, after losing the one-dayers 0-4.

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 19:19 GMT)

With all due respect, Pujara is being politically correct instead of realistic. If India hold on to the chances like the Aussies, SA, NZ and England, they will win a lot more matches. McCullum's dropped catch in the first Test cost them a the match and might do the same in the second. India's ground fielding has improved no doubt, but the catching is average at best.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (February 16, 2014, 19:08 GMT)

Denial is the fist step to destruction. Pujara should have known better. Ishant Sharma's hair is directly responsible for that dropped catch. Add to that, Ishant has the worst balance in follow-through of any pacer in the world. He couldn't have held on to a catch by looking through just the left eye. Shave his hair completely, I say! Shame! This unprofessional guy needs to go. Kohli's over-confidence that the match is already in the bag, is responsible for his dropped catch. How hard is it to take it with both hands instead of trying to show-off like a spoiled teenager. Ridiculous! There's a reason why India lost the first test - catches win matches. At least in the second test, we have a huge lead. so the two simple dropped catches may not prove costly.

Posted by Jimmyvida on (February 16, 2014, 18:03 GMT)

I wrote my earlier blog thinking 4 days had gone in the test. Sorry about pushing Brendon's gear.

Posted by prasanna_79 on (February 16, 2014, 17:46 GMT)

@parvinder7 Can't agree more with you reg Mr.Srinivasan & Dhoni & IPL..,But can't accept that Indians are flat track bullies..,this young Indian Batting line up with the exception of Rohit has shown the technique & temperament & fast learning capabilities to be the best in the world in the years to come.. I can confidently say that this Batting line up ( Dhawan,Vijay,Pujara,Kohli & Rahane ) is the only one in the world at the moment which has the guts , tenacity , technique & reflexes to face up to the Aussie Bowling attack in their own backyard successfully..!! Not confident about Dhoni's captaincy & test batting though..!!! Can't wait for the series against Aussies in Australia to see how these players go about it..!!

Posted by TopTipper on (February 16, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

It is now clear that English was not the first language of Cheteswar Pujara in his school days looking at the way he used the word 'fantastic' with regards to Indian fielding that was below par.Nothing personal, you can forgive him for that as English is not our native language. I can totally understand a team-mate backing himself and his team no matter how dire the circumstances are, but it is better to keep the words you throw out to the media simple and meaningful, by avoiding embellishing words that false-rate the performance. The truth is that no Indian test cricket fan is happy with today's performance and is worried about repeat-end of the first test in SA, where India should have won in-spite of its average bowling talent. #calmorpassivedhoni?

Posted by Fan1969 on (February 16, 2014, 16:50 GMT)

BTW in last 10 tests they played, Dravid and Laxman dropped more than the current crop.

I can only hope that the current crop of players improve soon. They do field well but dropped catches are very expensive and frustrating.

Wish the team good luck tomorrow morning with getting 5 NZ wickets quickly

Posted by Jimmyvida on (February 16, 2014, 15:39 GMT)

If Brendon can stay 10 minutes and then move into top gear, he should be able to score 150-170 in the first session. Double centuries in consecutive tests. He could score 200 in the session, but Indian fielding is so fantastic. India seem to have worked out a system, "How to lose any test match" while being worshipped by your people back home.

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 15:29 GMT)

Pujara can be excused for the exaggeration but what do Fletcher and Dhoni have to say about the total absence of any pressure on the Kiwis ? Our fielders,barring probably Jadeja, jog or amble to pick up and throw when they are confident that the batsmen would settle only for a single. In contrast, look at the Aussies or even Bangla Desh. Every fielding attempt is a sprint at top speed so that the batsmen don't entertain the slightest idea of a second run or even half a second run. If there is to be an award for Energy Conservation, we Indians would bag the it every time !

Posted by jjoy14 on (February 16, 2014, 15:08 GMT)

Catches win matches, Kohli dropped Smith on the first ball in the second innings of first test in South Africa thereby the game and hope it doesn't happen here with dropped the catch of McCullum. Kohli, Vijay and Dhawan needs to vastly improve their catching, for India to win tests abroad. I am not sure if Rohit is a test material abroad and needs to try someone else who can be an allrounder - fast bowler with sound technique to face quickies or just better batsman. India needs to be aggressive on 4th day and grab few wickets in morning session to better chance of win. Not having slip for McCullum was surprising, keep going for wickets since NZ are only 6 for 5 and one or two wickets in the morning should rejuvenate the team.

Posted by parvinder7 on (February 16, 2014, 14:21 GMT)

same old story, 100 for 5 and then 300. Indian fans its time you lot stop watching the ipl. Empty stadiums would send a strong message to the bcci, that even a 8th ranked poor team has denied your millionaires. I predicted a 1-1 draw or 1-0 win. New zealand you have showed all these indian fans, including me that dhoni needs to go, bowling coach needs to go and if dhoni dosent go, then duncan fletcher you cant take this team forward. Duncan can make india better not with srinivasan and dhoni around. India will lose 4-1 or 5-0 in england because dhoni is leading india. Pujara is the best man for test captaincy. Remember what i said, india cricket has died in tests. Pathetic indian fans still watch ipl and their team is getting humiliated around the world. Yes india are flat track bullies, the proof is there for everybody to see in odi. T20 and tests abroad. Please dont talk to me about champions trophy. That was the first unbiassed team we had. We went to win with no favourites

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

C'mon.. Catching is an important aspect of fielding. No denying, some outstanding catches, run outs and ground fielding from this indian side when compared to all their previous generations. But please don't ignore the dropped ones were what you would call as 'sitters'. And Virat Kohli has the runs to back up for his drop chances but can Murali Vijay say the same? I still don't get it as to why he has got so many chances. Asia cup is next and if given a chance, he would surely score in the asian pitches and cement his place again in the side. I would still keep Virender Sehwag in the team cause even if he just scores 1 or 2 and gets out, at least he has the ability in him to make the opposition wary of him. And hopefully not drop catches in the slips. Mr. Murali Vijay, if you can't score runs, don't drop the easy catches. If so, than the extra runs scored by that batsman should be deducted from your total runs scored in your lucky career so far. I wonder what your average would be..

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

It is DENIAL which has been and still is the biggest enemy of the present Dhoni lead Indian team...

Posted by Puffin on (February 16, 2014, 13:02 GMT)

If the batsman gets out the next over then the dropped catch scarcely matters, but it's unwise to bank on being that lucky all the time. Against this kind of determined, patient batting it's like slow torture for the fielder who dropped it.

Posted by yjreddyindia on (February 16, 2014, 13:01 GMT)

i hope india can restrict newzealand to 350 atleast..waiting for india win.all the best team india.

Posted by nayonika on (February 16, 2014, 12:57 GMT)

Pujara is overly optimistic. Indian fielding "fantastic"? He must be joking! Indian ground fielding has improved a lot and the is fit and agile. Catching? They are not top class at all and no where near Australia and South Africa. Some Indian players are safe catchers when its' an easy catch. Otherwise most are just so so. All of them must practice all types and kinds of catching for at least two hours every day to become safe catchers on any day, any catch. One would still drop some but not the ones that Kohli and Sharma dropped from McClllum and thus dropped an Indian win.

Posted by Hello13 on (February 16, 2014, 12:06 GMT)

I think we need to be realistic. India's catching has been horrible for a while now, especially in the slips. Ground fielding has been good. But kohli seems to drop way too many easy catches, as does vijay. Need to work harder, or India will keep on losing games

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 11:32 GMT)

@Abhijeth_Manohar, do u really think NZ can bat 50 overs tomorrow? It's quite impossible because of seam movement in the pitch in early morning. The morning session is very difficult to bat. With Mohammad Shami bowling accurately, I don't think either McCullum or Watling could survive initial one hour. If Ishant opens, then I back ur opinion.

India will surely remove either one of them in first half-an-hour which is a huge setback for them... From there on I think they should run away with wickets even if McCullum stays.....

Waiting for ur reply buddy!!!!

Posted by Abhijeth_Manohar on (February 16, 2014, 11:13 GMT)

I hope NZ run away with this game. If they can bat 50 overs tomorrow they have a good chance. With this bowling line up anything is possible. Let's see what pujara has to say about the fielding then.

The Australians are setting a new golden standard in test cricket and here we are still dishing out our excuses..Man up INDIA

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 11:08 GMT)

That's the whole problem...rhe attitude should be that even ONE dropped catch sould be disappointing. Had they held onto one of the two chances then NZ would have been 6 down...maybe more. If they change that "overall we did ok" attitude despite putting down 2 chances then perhaps they can increase their fielding intensity and begin to match the levels shown by the Aussies, Saffas etc. I would be happier if the Indians were saying that they were disappointed with not taking their chances. Simple!

Posted by ABDfan on (February 16, 2014, 10:30 GMT)

Drop catches and edges going in gaps are part of game. One day luck is at ur side when even wrong decisions go in ur favor but other day luck is not with u and u drop catches.. U cant really make them excuses. India is still in a very good position to win this match but B-Mac knows only half of the duty has been done yet and we know he is planning something special to welcome Jonty Taylor in this wonderful world..

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 9:56 GMT)

has he forgotten about all the drop catches in the ODIs and the one where the 2 fielders ran into eachother?

he needs to learn that catches win matches - Didnt Clarke hit 200-300 when India dropped him in 1 game? and England batter getting 190 after being dropped by a indian feilder... need I say more?

Posted by   on (February 16, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

Don't see any reason to justify those dropped catches. Surface is now batting friendly so can't give easy chances to go away these could cost heavily.

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