India's slip fielding woes were once again exposed during Sri Lanka Tests and remain a big concern ahead of the tough
New Delhi: India’s Cheteshwar Pujara bemoaned their spilled catches in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday but was optimistic they would plug the porous slip cordon for next month’s test series in South Africa.
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews ended his two-year century drought with generous help from the Indians as home captain Virat Kohli spilled the batsman on six and Rohit Sharma on 98, both at second slip.
Mathews was dropped again on 104, this time at mid-off, by substitute fielder Vijay Shankar.
“We haven’t taken many catches (in the slips) but we will definitely get better at it,” Pujara, a reliable slip fielder himself, told reporters on Wednesday.
“Overall, the Indian team has improved as a fielding unit but slip fielding is something we are still looking to improve.”
Sri Lanka opener Dilruwan Perera was also dropped at second slip by Shikhar Dhawan, prompting concerns as India prepare to leave for a tougher assignment in South Africa.
“We are having a chat about it and we will assign a few players throughout the away series,” Pujara said.
“We will prepare a few players who will be standing at the slips. We will discuss (it more) when we reach South Africa but we are already talking about that.”
The 29-year-old said injuries to players like opener-slip fielder Murali Vijay forced the team into reshuffling the slip cordon.
“To be honest, we haven’t fielded well and I would accept that. At the same time... there have been occasions where batsmen (who field in the slips) have got injured and we had to replace them with some other player.”
Pujara was not sure if there was anything wrong with the technique of India’s slip fielders.
”I don’t know technically what is going wrong. I do agree that we haven’t taken enough catches, we are working hard.
“To be honest, we put in a lot of hard work in our fielding ... All players standing in the slips are taking 50 to 100 catches (daily in practice). We are trying to improve and eventually results will come.”
Starting on Jan. 5, India play three tests in South Africa followed by six one-day and three Twenty20 internationals.