After the first test match on the Caribbean tour of 1983, the great Viv Richard and I were at a party and I told him that one of my wishes was to get him out. He said “ Man, you can do that.” “ Another wish of mine”, I told him, “ is to hit your off-breaks into the stands.” “ Maan, you can do that,” he replied again. ‘Just one more wish.” I said. “ I want to steal a single from under your nose.” “Don’t you dare do that maan. Not with me. I am very proud of my fielding and I enjoy it. So, don’t try that with me, maan!” All great fielders enjoy their fielding and are proud of it. Like batting and bowling, fielding is a skill which can be developed. We shall discuss here how you can improve your fielding skills and become a safe fielder, if not a brilliant one. The prerequisite is, however, working hard on the basics and enjoying every moment of it.

Enjoy your fielding

The more relaxed you are, mentally and physically, the better you can field. One brilliant run out or a superb catch can turn the game in your favour. But what is most important is that you enjoy your fielding. Remember that to become an outstanding fielder in a match you got to work hard at practice and enjoy your fielding drill sessions. Only when you are absolutely confident of your fielding and catching skills can you really relax mentally and physically while fielding in a match. If you have doubts about your fielding ability, fielding becomes a boring, tiresome job.

An excellent fielder is a joy to watch. So work hard on your fielding ability to become an outstanding fielder and who knows you could become the next Sir Vivian Richards or Jonty Rhodes of world cricket.

Remember : If you are fielding in the outfield, always lean forward as you walk towards the striker. Begin your movement when the bowler is 4-5 yards from the bowling crease. Once you start walking, keep your eyes on the striker’s movement and footwork.

When a stroke is played, keep your eyes on the ball. Watch the impact of ball on bat and how it is been played. Remember that even if it is not played towards you, you have to watch the ball till it is relayed back to the bowler.

Always toss the ball back softly, and in the hands of the bowler or wicket keeper, if there is no opportunity for a run out.

Help to maintain the shine on one side of the ball, in consultation with the bowler, by rubbing that side of the ball on your trousers.

Always back the throws (cover up) from the deep, even if the batsman is not attempting runs.

Always chase the ball till the end, and make an effort to stop it inside the boundary rope. Every run saved is worth two runs for your team.