CHENNAI: Former Tamil Nadu captain R Prasanna is enjoying his role as the fielding coach of the team. From S Venkataraghavan, K Srikkanth, Robin Singh to M Vijay, the state has produced an excellent crop of fielders. Prasanna is keen to help keep up the tradition.The former middle-order batsman feels fielding must come naturally and players should not take it as a burden. “We have a good crop of energetic youngsters who are keen to improve their fielding skills. Aparajith and Indrajith are good slip fielders. Kaushik Gandhi is good close in. J Kousik can field anywhere. But if you want me to name one, it’s Vijay Shankar. Tall with sense of anticipation, he is hard working,’’ opined Prasanna.
He says sense of anticipation and good reflex are the two important ingredients to become a good fielder. “Key to be a good fielder is to always expect the ball and to know at what speed the ball is coming off the bat. Reflex and anticipation are mandatory for close in fielders. These qualities help convert a half-chance.’’
The Tamil Nadu team has been taking the help of technological innovations to improve fitness and fielding. What new gadgets have been introduced and what are the problematic areas for the team to be addressed. “A snick bat which is of great help to wicketkeepers is a new one we have added. Direct hits are the biggest area of concern for us, so if we get the accuracy part right we can be a very good fielding unit. We need to work on specific positions more and I am confident we will do it.’’
‘Fielding fitness’ a programme devised by trainer Ramji Srinivasan, which helps a player anticipate how tired he will be after bowling a certain number of overs, so that he can train accordingly. “This helps fight fatigue and helps one stay focussed. Another method is that a player undergoes fielding drills at all the positions. This helps a player take a new position when a fielder is injured.”
Prasanna has also learnt from the good fielders he has played with and tries to use that knowledge in his new role. “When I was playing R Sathish, Vasudeva Das and S Badrinath were excellent fielders. All of them had safe pairs of hands but Sathish was multi-dimensional.’’