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Agencies
September 6, 2010

Pakistan cut down on training to improve fielding

Top Story

A
Agencies
September 6, 2010

CARDIFF, Wales: When Mohammad Yousuf backpedalled from mid on, trying to catch England’s Ravi Bopara off the bowling of Shoaib Akhtar during the first Twenty20 International here on Sunday, not many thought he would be able to catch it.
After all Yousuf is one of the weaker fielders in a Pakistan side that is not known for good fielding. But the veteran batsman took the catch and Pakistan were celebrating the fall of England’s second wicket.
Earlier, wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal, who is notorious for flooring sitters, took a good catch also off Akhtar to help Pakistan get rid of opener Craig Kieswetter.
Suddenly, it seemed that Pakistan’s fielding, which has been under scanner during the most of this eventful tour, has improved.
So what’s the recipe behind this improvement. Ask Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, and he will tell you that under him the tourists have decided to shorten their fielding practice sessions.
“We were doing too much fielding and catching practice during this tour,” said Afridi, after Pakistan’s training session here on Saturday evening. “It was becoming a bit counter-productive because instead of helping the boys improve their fielding, it was causing pain and injuries,” he added.
Under pressure from various quarters, Pakistan’s coaches opted for marathon fielding drills during training sessions and according to Afridi it was causing more harm than good.
“The boys were scared that they might get injured and miss matches. So their confidence, as far as taking their catches is concerned, was going down.”
Afridi, who took over Pakistan’s captaincy for the one-day series against England last week, said that it would be better for him and his teammates to go extensive fielding training during training camps once the tour was over.
“You need such drills during training camps and not during tours,” said the experienced all-rounder.

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