Watching India’s wretched performance in the recently concluded test series against England, especially the dropped slip catches, one is reminded of the epic 2001 series between India and Australia when the close in catching was superb: especially Hemang Badani (as a substitute fielder) at short fine leg and Sadagopan Ramesh at forward short leg, not to forget, of course, Dravid and Laxman. There was a time when India had some of the finest close in catchers, at silly mid off, forward short leg and short fine leg.
Barney Ronay at the Guardian has this eloquent summary of India’s spectacular capitulation.
Because the fact is for all the jubilation at England’s victory, there has been a kind of sadness about India’s disintegration. This was Test cricket only in name, and another batting display of almost alarming ineptness. There will be an urge to blame the Indian Premier League, and Twenty20 generally for this, but cricket everywhere is being stretched in peculiar places right now. At The Oval it was Gambhir’s turn to fall between the gaps, his 19-ball humiliation capturing most clearly the sense of two cricketing nations moving, for now, in rather separate directions.