Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif called Ravindra Jadeja the touchstone of modern day fielding standards and opened up on what it takes to become a good fielder.
Kaif was widely considered to be one of the best fielders of his time and was a rare breed of Indian fielders who could do it all. Along with Yuvraj Singh, Kaif set the standard for fielding during his playing days and offered his wisdom on the kind of work that goes into making a good fielder.
“Jadeja is improving by age and is setting a good example,” Kaif told The Times of India. “Just like a complete batsman is the one who can play the bouncer well, is able to drive, play the cut and the pull well and play spin also comfortably and has patience to stay at the crease.
“All these things add up to make a good batsman. It is the same in fielding. You should know how to slide, you should be able to run fast, you should have endurance, you should have a good aim even after stopping the ball with a dive. All these things add up to make a good fielder.”
Kaif also spelled out the mental demands of fielding and the challenges of staying switched on all the time, despite the physical toll of standing on the field for hours at a stretch.
“Because a match doesn’t have a 30-minute time span, so you should have the fitness of staying on the ground,” he said. “A catch can come anytime. Even if you are tired, you may have to dive, you may have to slide to catch the ball. That ability comes through the practice of quantity, not quality. You should also have a good technique and good hand-eye coordination.
“But if you make up your mind that you have to spend long hours at the field, then you can become a good fielder. One cannot become a good fielder by looking at the time and an hour-long practice. Keep the time aside and give emphasis on effort and commitment, only then you can become a good fielder.”