Guwahati, March 5: Improved fielding by Assam players has been attributed as one of the factors behind their unprecedented success in the Vijay Hazare tournament but one factor of this aspect of the game — the men behind the wickets — is now a cause for concern for the new heroes.
This shortcoming will be in focus as the players take the field for the Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy T20 East Zone leg in Agartala from March 17. Fielding coach Subhadeep Ghosh will be worried about who to have in the slips and gully with no specialists in the team for these positions.
“We have never had specialised individuals for these positions. We managed with makeshift alternatives bringing in Dheeraj Jadhav, Gokul Sharma, Tarjinder Singh and others. Although not very important as far as the T20 format is concerned, yet it is felt that we concede lives and runs to batsmen through that area,” Ghosh told The Telegraph.
“Fielding was invariably a positive factor in our Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign. The boys, particularly Pallav Das, Gokul and Abu Nechim, put up a splendid show. However, we still have room for improvement,” Ghosh, who is also associated with the India A team, added.
About the improved fielding compared to the Ranji Trophy campaign, Ghosh said it was sheer hard work by every member.
“The boys worked really hard on fielding in particular since the summer coaching camp and have attained this level now. It will be another test of their skill in Agartala. But, my concern will remain on the area behind the wickets because you cannot derive the best from anyone by forcing him to man a position,” he said.
Ghosh, who was himself a hard-hitting top order batsman during his first class career, also expressed concern about the lack of “game-changers” in the batting line-up.
“We don’t have the game changer kind of batsman who can put up a big score facing few balls. We have batsmen who can score 30 off 30 balls but not the one who can score 30 of 12 balls which is vital in T20 cricket,” he said.
The Assam Cricket Association selectors will name the squad tomorrow evening.