One game-changing moment per match is what Punjab Kings are looking for in the field as they aim to bounce back from a disappointing 2020 at this year’s IPL.
Under the stewardship of one of the greats in the field, the South African former Test player Jonty Rhodes, the team produced two or three of the most eye-catching moments in the UAE despite eventually coming sixth and failing to qualify for the final stages.
There was the extraordinary effort by Nicholas Pooran on the boundary against Rajasthan Royals – at the time it was called the finest piece of fielding in the competition’s 13-year history – not to mention a stunning save by Mayank Agarwal against the Mumbai Indians in a game that went to a Super Over.
But Rhodes, who was like a crouching tiger primed to unfurl his hidden dragon at backward point during an international career that brought him 52 Test caps and 245 ODI appearances, believes that his team can get even better.
“Aspects of the game we need to work on will be improving that one per cent on the field, improving on those game-changing events on the field,” he told the franchise’s website, “whether it be a run- out, a catch or just a save on the boundary. We are going to be working really hard at that.
Rhodes, who one observer said “made fielding cool” in the 1990s, also said that he would be keeping fielding drills short and intense, to simulate match circumstances.
“You’ve got to understand that the IPL is a long tournament, so it is about managing expectations in practice,” the 51-year-old said. “It is about practising at high intensity.
“My fielding sessions are never about practising for hours. It is generally 5-10 minutes practising like it is a match.
“With the heat and humidity in India, we’ve got to be smarter about how we go about things so that come the knockout stages, the players have a lot left in the tank.”
Jingle by Mog