Fielding standards in India have always been rather low and it’s not difficult to figure out why according to former South African batsman Jonty Rhodes.
"Some grounds are quite dangerous and the conditions needs to improve. That's probably the reason why young players are hesitant to dive around.
Obviously, if the grounds were in bad shape, then even I wouldn't have dived either. A proper place is required to learn all this," Rhodes said during the launch of Omtex Jonty's Way at the Cricket Club of India.
"Most youngsters fall on their knees while diving, which is dangerous. You have to be fully committed and go flat out while diving because then, the chances of getting injured are less," the 42-year-old said. Rhodes has committed to devote 45-60 days in India with the academy.
He will train the coaches who will impart skills to the players. A nominal training fee will be charged to aspiring coaches and cricketers. The Mumbai Indians fielding coach aims to make fielding fun. "It is important that players learn the right fielding techniques at an early age as it is difficult to change them later.
The youngsters focus a lot on their batting and bowling, but ignore fielding. I have to literally fetch them for fielding drills. My idea is to make fielding fun. I am not expecting them to be like me, but I am hoping they become the best," he said.
He related his own example to explain its importance. "I was an average batsman, but my selection in the 1992 World Cup team was purely on my fielding exploits. Fielding can help tremendously in your selection. I used all the sports that I played to help my fielding." he revealed.