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Take Fielding Very Seriously
Any youngster who wants to play cricket must take fielding very seriously and every cricketer should treat it as one of the main department of cricket, like batting and bowling. Very few can be called as natural fielders. One who has a supple body and reflexes, good running speed, good anticipation and a safe pair of hands can be described as a natural fielder. He would enjoy fielding very much.
Get Hold of the Basics of Fielding first
First, a youngster should learn the correct way of stopping the ball, taking a catch in a safe way and then the art of picking up and throwing.
Catches Win Matches!
A run saved is a run scored. Many matches are won because of splendid fielding and brilliant catching. A familiar ad-age in cricket is “catches win matches”. Any competitive youngster should try to stop every possible run and should attempt catches however difficult they are. This way he can put a lot of pressure on the batsman to lose concentration and play a loose shot.
Many matches have turned the other way because of one brilliant catch or a run out. In modern day cricket, the one day game has come to stay. This means that a player who can only bat brilliantly or bowl well cannot be assured of his place, if his fielding is poor. A lot of emphasis is given to fielding in the one day game. A brilliant fielder can lift up the tempo of the team with his energetic fielding. A dropped catch or a misfielding can turn the course of the match if one of the eleven players is lethargic and not fielding properly, not putting 100% effort on the field, he can bring the morale of the side down. That is why youngsters should learn right from the early years to give 100% on the field which will give the bowlers and his other team mates a tremendous boost and advantage and it will also put a lot of pressure on the batting side.
One should not shirk making an attempt to take even impossible catches and cut runs by good fielding. There is every possibility that those attempts sometimes will be successful and thereby you can win matches. If not, atleast you can boost the morale of the team.
Never take Fielding for granted!
A youngster should never take fielding for granted. Fielding practices includes fielding close and high catches. A player will never have the confidence to field or take the catches without adequate practice. In this case he will try to avoid going to the ball. Invariably on such occasions, the ball will always chase a nervous fielder or a fielder who avoids fielding. Thereby, you will not enjoy the game and it will also be a problem for the captain to hide such fielders. Poor fielding can affect one’s batting or bowling performance also. That is why it is always advisable to devote some time for fielding practice along with batting and bowling practice. Many cricketers became very good fielders by sheer hardwork and practice. There is no substitute for hardwork to become good fielders.
To take a high catch or running catch, a fielder should keep his eyes on the ball throughout, so that he can come into the line of the ball and judge the catch at chest level. Always take the high catch at your chest level, as it would help you to take a catch in case it rebounds/ for this, judgement should be perfect. Attempt even the most difficult catches, never know you may come up with some unbelievable catches. We see so many of such catches on telivision or even while playing a match or watching it at the ground. This is why by doing vigorous fielding practice regularly, one can become safe or reliable fielder, if not a brilliant fielder.
To stop a ball on the run, you should start bending when you are almost reaching the ball because one cannot bend suddenly. Even if you do so, there is always a chance of back strain.
Anticipation is the key for fielding well
Diving is an art. It could be achieved by vigorous fielding practice. You require judgement, anticipation and timing to dive at a ball which is falling short of you or is going away from you. For this, you need supple body. By diving you can take remarkable catches and prevent runs. One should practice diving during net practice and perfect it and not become a prey to serious injuries. When you have taken a catch by diving in the air, make sure that on landing your elbow does not hit the ground first, as this may help the ball to pop out of your hand and the brilliant attempt of the catch may go in vain.
A slip fielder shoulder always anticipate for outer edges, especially, when the batsman is playing against spin and swing.
A youngster should anticipate a square cut turning to his left after bouncing and if a batsman plays a sweep shot it will turn to the right side after pitching at square leg or so.
Learn the optimum throwing techniques
A bowler who fields should not risk his shoulders by using his shoulder muscles a lot. For throwing, instead, he should learn the art of throwing with minimum effort of the shoulder. It is advisable to use the wrist and forearm for throwing.
The best way of improving – throwing, is to put a stump and stand at a distance from the stumps. Ask somebody to hit or throw from all angles and you have to pick those balls and shove at the stumps from all angles by not taking much time after picking up. If you do this regularly, you are bound to be very accurate in throwing. The greatest of fielders do this regularly. Otherwise, they will not achieve the level of excellence. Similarly, for practicing high catches and catches close to the wicket, ask somebody to hit high in all directions (i.e. forward, backward and both sides) and you take those catches with all concentration and seriousness. Never take your practice lightly, because this same attitude will reflect in the matches.
Tips for Fielding
A fielder who stands in the deep field should come a few yards in front, if the batsman hits the ball towards him however fast he hits. A fielder should always try and cut the ball if possible and not follow it. If the batsman plays the ball in his (fielder’s) direction, a fielder should rush onto the ball in front instead of waiting for the ball to come to him. These attempts will help him to make a perfect stop and throw as the distance involved is reduced, plus it can also save a run, or make a run out in case the batsman decides to take a second run.
Even the fielder who is directly not involved in fielding must lookout to backup for the throws from other fielder on either side of the wicket. For example a cover fielder should be ready to backup when the throw is coming in from the fine leg area to the wicket keeper or the long on, deep mid-on area to the bowler.
Warm-Up before Fielding
Before you enter the field, stretch your body, legs, arms and sides. Loosen up your shoulders by throwing a few balls.
Good fielding is an outcome of physical fitness. A lot of energy is required for maintaining a high standard throughout the innings.