Fielding coach R Sridhar has observed flaws in Rishabh Pant’s outfielding and throwing technique from India’s 28-run victory over Bangladesh in World Cup 2019 on Tuesday (July 2) in Birmingham. 

Pant, who is usually behind the stumps doing glovework duties, is having to field in the deep with the presence of great MS Dhoni in the side, and Sridhar said he still has a lot of room for improvement as far as fielding in the outfield is concerned. 

“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 told ICC before informing skipper Virat Kohli and former captain MS Dhoni have identified a few specific positions for Pant in the field. 

“We have to use him in 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 is a huge bonus. He took a catch as well.”

Sridhar has assessed more experienced wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik as a better outfielder than the young Southpaw. “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 same positions so that they get an idea,” he said. 

Getting used to different ground dimensions, Sridhar emphasized, is of utmost importance for a fielding unit. 

“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.”

“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,” he explained. 

The conditions haven’t been easy for spinners in England. Hence, Sridhar informed, Indian players are being asked to throw the ball one bounce into the pitches adjacent to the match strip in order to scuff the leather off. The ploy is also used to try and generate some reverse swing for the pacers. 

“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 concluded.