Birmingham: The burly Rishabh Pant not only needs to be more athletic in the outfield but also improve his throwing technique, observed fielding coach R Sridhar after his few lapses during the World Cup game against Bangladesh.
Sridhar admitted that as far as fielding in the outfield is concerned, Pant is still a work in progress. "A lot of work has to go into him (Pant). First of all, he needs to improve his technique in throwing and also needs to be a little more athletic to be an outfielder," Sridhar said at the mixed zone after India posted a 28-run win over Bangladesh here on Tuesday to make it to the World Cup semifinals.
The skipper Virat Kohli and senior-most player Mahendra Singh Dhoni have identified a few specific fielding positions in the deep for Pant. "We have to use him for appropriate (fielding) positions, that is what Virat and MS are keen on. Keep him at the right places at the right time. In the last game (vs England), he saved at least five runs which are a huge bonus. He took a catch as well," the former first-class cricketer said.
As per Sridhar's assessment, veteran Dinesh Karthik is a better outfielder compared to the young Pant.
"Obviously, Dinesh despite being a wicketkeeper is a good outfielder. He pulls off some good saves at backward point. Rishabh is developing and he needs to do this a bit more to develop the awareness, to get a hang of it. That's why we harp about getting fielders in the same positions so that they get an idea."
In a ground like Edgbaston, which isn't exactly spherical in shape, knowledge of angles becomes important, Sridhar said. "This is all about awareness just like you saw in the last game against England. This ground is a bit like Eden Gardens. Once you are beaten, there's no way that you can chase it. There is no point running around towards the boundary line."
He then spoke about the solution in such uniquely shaped grounds. "You have to cut the angles. We are used to playing in such grounds and we will have to be aware of that. You will always not get grounds of spherical shape so awareness becomes key," Sridhar added.
The fielding coach also gave details about how Indian players are encouraged to throw one bounce into the pitches adjacent to the match strip in order to scuff the leather off the cherry, which will then help the slow bowlers.
"We don't have any equipment to measure the pace of the throw from the outfield. But we ensure that the throw is nice and hard."
"The reason being that once the ball stops swinging, we want to use the practice pitches to bash (scuff) it up a little bit so that the spinners can get some help," he said.