Alongside Ravi Shastri, some other members of the Indian team's coaching staff also got renewed contracts after the World Cup. One of them, fielding coach R Sridhar, has now revealed who he thinks India's 'Best fielder of the decade' is. He also thinks that this person has played a key role in improving the overall standard of his team's fielding.
This person is, not surprisingly, Ravindra Jadeja. The all-rounder has always been regarded as the first among the equals in the fielding department of the Indian team. The current generation of the national side is blessed with quality fielders. While Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane are also known for their prowess, players such as Suresh Raina were also valuable assets when they were in the side.
But according to Sridhar, the best among this formidable lot is Jadeja. He heaped praise on the left-hander in an interview to Times of India.
"Jaddu's presence on the field lifts the team's spirits. He is someone who can keep the opposition on their toes with his fielding. He has an intimidating presence on the field. I wouldn't like to go very far but in the last decade or so Jadeja has been the best fielder India has had," Sridhar said in response to a couple of questions.
When asked about the specific areas which he has worked on to improve India's overall fielding strength, Sridhar had this to say: "The change has been in two areas: mind-set and fitness. Changing the mind-set is pertaining to what the teams want to achieve, and fitness was a crucial part of that."
But the fielding coach is not content with the current state and wants further improvement. Slip fielding is one part of India's game that he wants to see getting better. Apart from that, there are a couple of other areas also where things need to get better, according to him.
"Developing a pool of players who can field at slip cordon is an area we are working on. In shorter formats, lateral movement and throwing from the deep are the areas we are focusing on as we head into the World T20 next year."
One thing can be said for sure, gone are the days when the Indian team had batsmen who were liabilities on the field. With the Ravi Shastri-Virat Kohli regime putting immense focus on fitness, there is no room for laxity. India's fielding unit is now almost as good as anyone else. Jadeja, on his part, is second to none in the world.