Team India’s performance in the third Test has been clinical. The batsmen have finally applied themselves and are scoring runs while the bowlers continue to shine. But one thing that has impressed everyone is the slip catching. And with record-breaking seven catches in this Test, KL Rahul is at the forefront of India’s vastly improved slip cordon.
One of the key reasons behind India’s failures in overseas is the abysmal clip catching. Indian fielders have dropped more than 50 % of the chances created by their bowlers in the slip region in the last few years. And even after swapping players there was no evident improvement.
But in the third Test, KL Rahul upped the ante and has taken some fine catches while standing at the second slip. It all began with Joe Root’s controversial catch off Hardik Pandya’s bowling in England’s first innings and then Rahul took two more catches to finish the innings with three catches. In the second innings, he improved his performance and so far has caught four England batsmen while standing at the second slip.
Rahul’s majestic fielding effort has probably pumped India’s other fielders, as well as Virat Kohli, was seen taking a brilliant catch at the third slip to dismiss Adil Rashid in the second innings. With Rahul’s safe hands in the second slip, India’s slip cordon now looks more confident and reliable. Currently, India has Cheteshwar Pujara at the first slip and Kohli at the third slip while Ajinkya Rahane patrols the fourth slip position.
Rahul’s heroics have earned him a place in the record books as well as he became the only seventh player and the first one on the English soil to take seven or more catches in a Test match. And his tally is also the joint-second by any Indian player in Tests.
Although questions over his batting still exist, Rahul has shown that he can be the solution for India’s poor slip catching issue.