Indian T20 League: Pollard tops fielding charts
In the shortest format of cricket, every single run counts. This is where the importance of fielding comes into the picture. A scintillating catch, a brilliant run-out or a spectacular fielding effort can change the course of the match. This year’s Indian T20 League is well past the halfway mark and the tournament has witnessed some breathtaking individual efforts on the field.
|Nitin Saini (wk)||7||7||2||61|
Top fielders in the Indian T20 League
On the basis of the first 53 matches that have been played till now*, let’s analyze the performances of the fielders in the Indian League.
When it comes to fielding, one name that every captain would love to have on his roster is Kieron Pollard. The Trinidadian giant tops the fielding charts with 65 points for his exceptional athleticism on the field for Mumbai. His acrobatics have helped him ###### 6 catches and affect one run-out. Not only that, but he has also saved innumerable runs in the Quick Start Overs while fielding at backward point as well as in the deep in the Extreme Performance Overs. His most outstanding effort in the field was against Hyderabad at Visakhapatnam where he held on to a stunner removing Shikhar Dhawan who was looking ominous batting on 41. Dhawan top-edged one high up at backward point, the ball was swirling in the air and Pollard judged it well, dived forward and pouched it safely. His heroics on the field have helped him achieve a decent overall Castrol index of 31.
Next up is a wicketkeeper with the most number of catches in the tournament so far, Nitin Saini. The youngster from Mohali has done an impeccable job in the absence of injured skipper Adam Gilchrist. His seven catches, one run-out and a stumping have attained him second-highest fielding points, 61. The fact that he has edged out the likes of MS Dhoni and Brendon McCullum in the wicketkeeping department says a lot about his contributions this season. His most outstanding effort in the field was in the 37th match against Chennai where he showed great presence of mind to run out Dhoni with Mohali defending a total of 157. Dhoni edged the ball to the leg side and set off for a single but Saini was alert as he quickly strode towards the ball and knocked down the stumps in a flash. Mohali went on to win the match by 7 points on Castrol Index. Saini’s contribution was crucial in the context as Dhoni is considered as one of the best finishers of the game.
Kolkata stand third on the Castrol Index with 123 points and their success in the tournament is not only because of the batting and bowling but also their fielding. Two of their players, Iqbal Abdulla and Manoj Tiwary, have made it to the Top 5 of the best fielders list. With four catches and a run-out, Abdulla has achieved 59 points for his sharp fielding in the deep. A moment of brilliance against Jaipur in the 7th match saw him run out a set Rahul Dravid as he covered good distance to his right from deep mid-wicket, picked up the ball on the run and fired in a rocket-flat throw to the bowler who took off the bails as Dravid was found short on the second run. Tiwary also attained 59 points for his six catches and some pretty good reflexive saves in the Quick Start Overs within the 30-yard circle on the off side (mainly point and cover). His best attempt in the field was in the 17th match when he caught a well-judged skier of Adam Gilchrist at point. The ball was swirling in the air and he judged it to perfection.
Shaun Marsh from Mohali has been very effective in the deep in the Extreme Performance Overs. With eight catches and two run-outs, he has achieved 58 fielding points and this is one of the main reasons why he possesses a decent Overall Castrol Index of 40. He took two back-to-back blinders in the 48th match against Jaipur, one diving full stretch running to his right from long on and the other diving full length forward, again running in from long on.
The League has witnessed numerous last-over, including last-ball, finishes and fielding has been one of the most important factors in deciding the winners. The competition is getting stiffer and it’s important that the teams in the second half of the table concentrate not just on their batting and bowling but also fielding as it could prove to be decisive on their road to qualification for the play-offs.
For more information and analysis of Team and Player Performances, log on to www.castrolcricket.com
*NOTE: All match statistics and Castrol Index data mentioned in the article are as per 8th May 2012.