India have gone through a patch where they were without a specialist slip-catcher like Rahul Dravid. They can now rely on Ajinkya Rahane, who has established himself as one of the best slip-catchers in Team India's Test squad.
Apart from guarding the slip cordon, Rahane is outstanding when deployed in the cover point region alongside Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and others. This has not only helped the team in the longest format of the game but also allowed bowlers to on him when a batsman edges a ball.
Rahane apparently takes hundreds of catches during practice sessions, and that is what has made him so successful.
"He (Rahane) is evolving into an excellent slip fielder. He has got the temperament and demeanour to be a good slip fielder. Let's make no bones about it — he works really hard at it. He takes hundreds of catches and he is very specific about where he wants them, what he wants to do, at what height he wants them, what he's likely to get in the match," Team India fielding coach R Sridhar told the reporters on Monday.
"He also has excellent understanding of angles, pace, depth (dipping) of the ball that is likely to come (to him). We spoke of perception earlier — that is something he is developing standing in the slips. He is evolving into a very good slip fielder, which augurs well for the team."
Besides Rahane, there are a number of other players in this Team India who are oustanding on the field. Sridhar also spoke about fielders from either sides who can turn the tide in a game.
"You can say AB de Villiers is a good fielder, but I think (Ravindra) Jadeja is a wonderful and natural athlete. In our team, each guy brings in something, making it collectively a good fielding unit," said Sridhar.
"Virat gets in the intensity and energy. (Ajinkya) Jinks brings in the sharpness (as a) close-in (fielder). Somebody brings in the calmness, Shikhar brings in the athleticism. So there's so much each guy brings in, making it a good collective unit. And that's what we say about good fielding teams hunting in packs."