Gavaskar criticizes Indian fielders after Stokes slams 82

Written by Vipin Darwade

After England piled up 263-3 on Day One in the first Test in Chennai, they continued to bat with positive intent and have marched ahead courtesy of skipper Joe Root’s 10th 150-plus score and Ben Stokes’ blistering 82, off 118 balls. Stokes commenced the day after Dominic Sibley fell on the last ball of the opening day and turned on the heat sooner than later.

The swashbuckling left-hander was helped by the sloppy Indian fielders, as R Ashwin dropped him off his own bowling whereas Cheteshwar Pujara also gave the all-rounder a reprieve after a tough chance being put down. As a result, he returned for an impressive 82, laced with 10 fours and 3 sixes.

As a result, former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar criticised and slammed the Indian fielders for not taking their chances on a lifeless pitch in Chepauk. He said on the post-lunch show on Star Sports., “Just like they practice the pull shot, the cut shot in the nets, I think the fielding coach must also try and give them these caught and bowled situations as if the bowler has bowled and then he looks up and the catch comes. It is an important aspect. India have been missing a fair few caught and bowled opportunities. I don’t know how they will be able to practice that but they need to do that.”

“When he does give you a chance, you’ve got to take it. Ben Stokes was aiming that drive over mid-on because his body shape and the bat face was towards mid-on, Ashwin didn’t expect it to go to his right. He perhaps expected to go to his left so it wrong-footed him a little bit. He just stuck his hand out and was never in a position to catch it. That’s just the chance you desperately wanna take but unfortunately for Ashwin, he couldn’t,” said former England opener Mark Butcher on the show.

India’s fielding wasn’t impressive even during their successful tour of Australia. The hosts will have to up their game as soon as possible as the visitors have looked comfortable and are at the driver’s seat in the opening Test in Chennai.

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Vipin Darwade