'Fielders' positioning hampering India's catching'

With India’s ‘butter fingered’ slip-cordon struggling to hold on to catches, former slips specialist VVS Laxman feels the fielders are standing too close to each other, which is causing confusion between them.

“Definitely, they are very close. I was the one who used to take the gap between the first slip, second slip and the third slip. When we were playing in sub-continental conditions it was six steps, and the moment we used to play overseas it used to be seven or eight because in overseas conditions there is more bounce and more carry for the fast bowlers,” Laxman said when asked about India’s woes in the slip cordon against England.

“So the distance can be maintained a bit more than in sub-continental conditions. They were very very close and that adds to the confusion,” he said.

Besides suicidal batting tendencies, India’s cricketers have been afflicted with ‘butter fingers’, dropping easy catches from which England captain Alastair Cook benefited in the fifth Test.

“I think, slip fielding is a confidence thing like batting and bowling. At the moment, the slip fielders in the current Indian team are low on confidence for obvious reasons because they have dropped a lot of catches but what was good to see is that they are capable of taking the catches.

“Murali Vijay showed that. Ajinkya Rahane showed in Southampton,” said Laxman, who was India’s dependable slip fielder along with Rahul Dravid for years.

“So they are capable of taking catches but it is about consistency and also it is important for Dhoni not to chop and change the fielders in the slip cordon. You have to have specialist players who are actually in that position.”

Indians have floored catches at crucial junctures of matches and that has allowed England to come back in the series.

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