In India's four-wicket loss to Australia in the first T20I at PCA Stadium, Mohali, the hosts' sloppy fielding on Tuesday evening stunned everyone. If Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel conceded 101 runs from their eight collective overs, especially in the death overs, India were also let down by poor fielding display.
All-rounder Cameron Green, the surprise opener alongside captain Aaron Finch, slammed a rollicking 61 off just 30 balls and could have been out at 42 if Axar Patel hadn't dropped his catch at deep mid-wicket.
In the next over, KL Rahul spilled a catch of Steve Smith at long-off. But the most costly one was Harshal Patel dropping a caught-and-bowled chance of Matthew Wade in the 18th over. At that time, Wade was on 23 and remained unbeaten at 45 off just 21 balls to take Australia home with four wickets to spare.
India's poor fielding show at Mohali left former head coach Ravi Shastri disappointed. "What I was disappointed today (in Tuesday's match) with was the standard of fielding. I mean, it looks sloppy and I think you need a big upping of the ante when it comes to the fielding if you have to beat big sides in big competitions," said Shastri on air after the match ended.
With the second T20I at Nagpur on Friday, Shastri felt the current India side has to improve on its fielding to defeat top teams consistently in big events like the T20 World Cup starting in Australia next month.
"If you look at all the top Indian teams over the years, there is youth and experience. I find the youth missing here and hence the fielding. If you look at the last five-six years, fielding wise, I think this side is no match to any of the top sides when it comes to fielding."
"And that can hit badly in big tournaments. It means that as a batting side you have to get that 15-20 runs game after game, because if you look around the field, where is brilliance? There is no (Ravindra) Jadeja. Where is that X-factor?"