The value of Ajinkya Rahane in slips for the spinners is realised when he is absent from the team. Rahane missing the fourth and fifth Tests due to a finger injury sustained just before the Mumbai Test has also affected the balance of the Indian fielding unit.
To take the Mumbaikar’s place in the slip when the slow bowlers are operating, Virat Kohli has to abandon his position in the outfield and go to the catching spot close to the bat. While there is no doubt about Kohli’s catching abilities in the slip to the spinners, his presence in the outfield and saving a few runs are being sorely missed.
You realise that Rahane is not there when certain edges fall short of Kohli in the lone slip for spinners. Of course, the Indian captain cannot do anything if the catches fall short but you are reminded of the spectacular catches Rahane has pulled off in that position, be it that reflex catch to dismiss Joe Root in Mohali or diving forward to pluck the ball inches off the ground.
“We miss Kohli’s energy in the outfield. He is a livewire when he is fielding at short cover, short mid-wicket, where he stops a lot of singles and creates opportunities,” India’s fielding coach R Sridhar said here on Friday.
“At the same time, we have Jaddu (Jadeja), who stepped in today (Friday). He has been magnificent, stopping a few boundaries and a few singles at covers. So, with Kohli at slip, there is no difference there. He is as good as Ajinkya. Only thing is we miss his energy in the outfield.”
This series has seen India miss quite a few chances while also holding on to some, which Sridhar termed as “work in progress” and did not want to give “changes in personnel in close cordon” due to injuries as an excuse for those drops.
While giving credit to Moeen Ali’s century and Joe Root’s aggression, Sridhar said the variation in pace while bowling made the difference in Jadeja picking up 3/73 and Ravichandran Ashwin going wicketless on the day.
“The pace at which bowlers bowl on his pitch is critical,” Sridhar said. “The pitch slowed down. We thought Ashwin will start off with slower balls through the air, it was that kind of forcing the batters into errors. But later on, the pitch eased out, the bowlers had to bowl a little quicker, otherwise it was easy for batsmen. Jadeja was accurate. He bowled tidy lines. That is what he was rewarded with.”
Source by dnaindia….