Vantage point

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Disturbing Pattern

Maybe someone at cricinfo or someone who has some time on their hands can search the commentary archives and verify this, but I seem to be remember that in most if not all series in the last couple of years, Rahul Dravid has dropped regulation catches at crucial moments. This is a distrubing pattern because Dravid's fielding expertise behind the wickets once rivalled that of VVS Laxman, and him dropping catches was almost unheard of. In fact he pulled off some game-turning stunners at slip, most memorable being his catches of Steve Waugh and Martyn off Tendulkar at Adelaide in 03-04.

A few moments back, Dravid dropped a simple catch of Michael Vaughan's off Anil Kumble. If Vaughan plays an Atherton-ish grinding innings and ekes out a draw, the catch will come back to haunt Dravid just like Prior's chance to Tendulkar in the first innings. And anecdotally I think this has been happening quite frequently of late. Maybe it is the effect of slowing reflexes with age combined with the fact that as a captain he always has to keep thinking about what to do next. Whatever the reason, I think the pattern is very disturbing and needs to be corrected especially in view of the forthcoming series against Pakistan and Australia.

Maybe it is time for Dravid to hand over the slip fielding responsibilities to younger and more reflexive hands like Wasim Jaffer.