Instance one: Yuvraj Singh moved just a couple feet to his right and positioned himself perfectly to pouch Chris Gayle miscue. The ball seemed to descend straight into his in-curved palms. Surely, one of India’s finest fielders wouldn’t spill so commonplace a catch. But spill he did, churlishly, as the ball simply slithered out of his paws. He just grimaced in angst.
Instance two: Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s most trusted slipsman squandered a regulation offering, though throat high, off Dwayne Smith in the same. The ball plainly bobbed out of his fingers. There is nothing spasmodic when Indian fielders drop catches. Bur there is something unusual when some of the finest do so. Not just Indians and Pakistanis, notoriously sloppy fielders, but even the Australians seemed to be infected by the bug, as they not only dropped catches but also seemed to miss the frequently miss ball altogether.
Moreover, it can’t be a sheer incidence that the scene of crime was mostly the arch between square-leg and deep mid-wicket when the white ball can sometime be lost in the floodlight (Brad Hogg’s drop of Umar Akmal was sheer misjudgment, though, sun-lit as the stadium was). And in Mirpur’s case specifically so, as the floodlights are lower than they normally are. “I think the light towers are very low, especially when you are fielding at midwicket. So I was just looking at the ball and doing nothing,” confided Suresh Raina after the Pakistan match, wherein Yuvraj and Bhuvneshwar Kumar dropped a catch apiece.
But what of Ashwin, who was fielding at first slip? West Indies coach Ottis Gibson came to his rescue. “When I watch the fielders throw the ball back at a certain height, the wicket-keeper seems blinded. The lights seem a little low,” he observed. The white chairs in the East Stand make it arduous to judge tricksy steeplers, to gauge its curve and direction, for the fielders prowling near the North Stand. Not to discount the boisterous spectators . “When you are fielding at the West End it can be tough to spot the white ball. That’s because of the white chairs in the East Stand. Also the stands are low and full of spectators, making it more difficult to catch the high balls,” reasoned Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim.
The most, and perhaps the only, pragmatic way out of this is to get accustomed to lights. “It is not only a problem with the Indian team as of now. There have been quite a few catches that have been dropped. This is something which we will have to overcome. But whether it is because of technical fault or just because of the surroundings, it’s difficult to tell now,” opined Dhoni.