KOLKATA: India fielding coach R Sridhar on Friday said rain-affected days like the first and second days of the ongoing first cricket Test against Sri Lanka bring the team together, especially in such adverse conditions as the team finds itself in at the moment.
After only 165 minutes were played in the first two days of the opening Test between India and Sri Lanka and only 32.5 overs were bowled out of a possible 180, India found themselves on the mat at 74/5, with Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara the only ray of hope.
Pujara was batting on 47 with wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha for company on 6 when showers extended the early lunch session and the day's play had to be called off at 2:30 p.m., just after tea.
"Days like these is what brings the team together. They spend a lot of time in the dressing room with each other and when the team is in bit of a adverse position these kind of days are wonderful for the team, I always feel," Sridhar told reporters here.
Sridhar said that if there is full day's play in the next three days, a result is certain.
"Going by the conditions we have at the Eden Gardens, if we get 270 overs of play I think that should be interesting as this Test match will have a result," he added.
The green top at the Eden aided Lakmal (3/5) a great deal on the first day and Dasun Shanaka (2/23) on the second.
Sridhar said that assistant coach Sanjay Bangar told him these conditions are more difficult than English ones.
"If the wickets are going to remain the same, the field will be as good as you saw. During the rain break, I asked Bangar whether the conditions here are similar during the time he opened the batting in Headingly back in early 2000s, he said maybe this could be more challenging," he said.
"Because here you don't know where the next run was coming from. That was the kind of lateral movement and swing which Lakmal and his fellow bowlers were purchasing from this wicket which is fabulous to watch. So hopefully when (Mohammad) Shami and Umesh (Yadav) steam in and we have the sultan of swing in our team Bhuvneshwar Kumar...would love to see the fields we will have."
On a different note, Sridhar was asked about the secret behind India's fielding improvement across all formats in recent times.
"We are not doing any magic trick. As far as fielding goes, the formula is more you practice the better you get like fitness. This is one skill where you put in the effort, you can see the results because it is controllable skill of the game unlike bowling and batting where there are lot of uncontrollables," the 47-year old said.
"We work hard on the things we can control and the only way to get better is practice a lot and that is what the team does," he added.
Sridhar added that they always focus on playing 11 fittest players which in turn ensure 11 best fielders in the team.
There has been a lot of talk about Indian slip fielders being changed quite a lot with three openers Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay not being able to cement their places for the longer haul in the Test side.
Sridhar said they can only operate with what they have. He added that more than in South Africa, slip fielding is difficult in the sub-continent due to two-paced wickets on most centres.
"We can only work with what I have. We can only work with the fielders in the squad," he said.
"As a team going ahead over the next 15-18 months we are playing more matches away from home than at home. So slip catching is going to be one of the areas which can contribute towards the result which we wan to achieve in our away Test matches. We will be quite relentless in terms of our preparation regarding that.
"Having said that, I feel slip catching is more difficult in sub-continent conditions than abroad. Abroad there is good carry, true bounce so slips can position themselves at a certain position where catches do carry comfortably.
"In the sub-continent, if you see it's always a challenge because of the two-paced wickets we get in most centres."