India A fielding coach Abhay Sharma is employing a different set of cricket balls as part of his methods to improve the important aspect of slip catching of his wards. The India A is currently hosting South Africa A in Bangalore for the 2 unofficial Tests and Abhay has revealed that he is using pseudo leather balls, which have been collected from Australia, West Indies and Lucknow, for practicing the tough the art of catching in slips.
Talking about his innovative methods, Abhay was quoted telling Sportstar as, “The ball wobbles a lot at slips. I am using balls that wobble more than cricket balls. They are of different colours. This ball doesn’t hurt as much as leather balls but it wobbles a lot,”
“I was in Lucknow and I saw a ball being used in street cricket. So I picked it. It is not a leather ball, but it gives you a feeling that it is. At times, you can get an idea from the streets also. It is a matter of making a complete package of a fielder at the international level,”
Abhay knows the main significance of cricket at the "A" level is to ensure a strong talent pipeline for the senior side. He said, “From the U-19 to the A level, we are ensuring these boys are prepared mentally, and skill-wise, for the senior level as this is the feeding line for the senior team. That’s the whole idea,”
Abhay also stressed that fitness even at this level is a systematic priority and concluded, “It was Rahul’s idea, backed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The India U-19 World Cup team was a top-class fielding side. We worked for one-and-a-half years on skills and agility. We work individually according to the ability of the player,”