Fielding and Fitness in Cricket play a massive role. Fielding has evolved and is evolving, so much so fast that over the last two decades now, there have been a number of improvisations made to existing methods of fielding to cut down on time taken to stop the runs and to make the efforts more accurate and spontaneous.
With the emergence of few new talented and committed fielders, and the kind of impact that fielding makes in limited over’s, the game has shaped to be more swifter and slicker where it is of vital importance for each player to slide, dive and jump to save runs, and convert half chances into dismissals(run-out).
The evolution from the 60 over game format to a 50 over the game and now to a T20 match and Test cricket has raised the fitness parameters of every cricketer whether a bowler or batsman.
Fielders also include Wicket keepers and are considered to be the backbone of the team, as the Wicket Keeper is the most active and attentive fielder on the field expecting every ball delivered by the bowler to land up in their gloves behind the stumps.
Few successful outfielders of all time are Jonathan Jonty Rhodes, Roshan Mahanama, Paul Collingwood and Suresh Raina, while there are some great names behind the wicket like Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kumara Sangakkara and a few others who have contributed heavily to their team”s overall success.
Fielding contributes in a special way to the team’s victory hence the fitness level along with fielding has also evolved. New fielding techniques are being introduced to keep the players at their competitive best.
By this, the quality of fielding standards is raising and improving together simultaneously. Earlier day’s teams would try to hide their weak fielders at the boundary but today we witness high-level catches at the boundary for which players train hard. Modern boundary fielding makes fielding efforts look rather ordinary. Specially T20 Cricket has raised the fitness level of cricket in every department be it batting, bowling or fielding.
Special fielding coaches are appointed today to mainly focus on building the entire team’s ability to stop quick runs and to ensure a maximum number of dismissals. At the highest level, fielding practice sessions for each position including the wicketkeeper and gym workout occupy a majority of a player’s time and effort today. Diet charts always act as a support before and after heavy training to help each player to sustain the physical pressure of performing.
Also, a bowler’s effort to take wickets and stop runs depends on how good the overall fielding is. The speed of the ground, ability to change direction and reaction time of the fielder plays a major role.
So, “If you are a youngster following the game and want to improve your fielding and fitness, then you need to start practicing or creating match conditions and scenarios, where there are high catches, ground balls, pick-ups, returns from the outfield and direct throws at the stumps. Good Luck.”
– by Cresinda D Costa