The Man behind India’s improved fielding- Biju George
India’s former fielding coach Biju George has worked silently to enhance fielding since the 2017 world cup. In a conversation with Times Of India, he said ‘Indian Women’s fielding has come of age’. Indian winning matches comprehensively nowadays is surely refreshing along with their extra efforts towards improving their fielding is a treat to watch and has been visible on the field in recent times. The team has evolved in a positive way and the fielding has tremendously upgraded in the last couple of years.
“I went from Kolkata Knight Riders (Support Staff) to join the Indian Women’s team, tried to implement the fielding techniques I had learned at KKR with the girls. There were a lot of apprehensions among the girls at first and a lot of eyebrows were raised. I realized the Indian team affected very few run-outs when I assumed charge. So, I focussed on that. In the first match against England, we affected 4 run-outs and went onto stun the hosts in the world cup. That’s where I think the girls realized that good fielding can win you matches” says Biju.
Biju initially selected specific fielders and started giving them drills by identifying their strengths. He adds,
“Though the basic fielding technique is the same, each position requires its own skill-set. So my next task was to identify fielders for each position. Poonam Yadav is now being assigned the task of patrolling short fine-leg or short-third-man. Similarly, Jemimah, who is an excellent fielder, is used in the slips, cover and in the deep is given specific drills to improve at each position. So now every member of the team know before the game where they will be fielding and what is expected of them. This has gone a long way in Indian Women’s team excelling now as a fielding unit.”
Biju George is credited with being a mentor to the Kerela born cricketer, Sanju Samson, right from when he was a child. The physical attributes of Indian girls are a bit lower when compared to that of Australians and English cricketers, but now they are more than making up for it with their hard work and dedication both on and off-field. He explained this saying “Our reach is low. So sometimes our girls have to make double the effort to take a diving catch or make a sliding stop. But technically, our fielding is far more superior.”
When questioned why he didn’t ask for an extension, Biju said
“I enjoyed working with the girls but now its time to move on. I have my own coaching center in Thiruvananthapuram. Also, I would like to work with Indian men’s junior teams and ‘A’ teams if given an opportunity.”
Indian women’s cricket team is currently working under the head coach W.V Raman and has recently concluded a successful series facing South Africa at home and now head to the West Indies for a tour. We expect to see some great performances and some brilliant pieces of fielding, of course.
Credits to Prasanth Menon | TNN – published on TOI.
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