After watching Stewart Macgill in klutz overdrive, this might be the right time to link to an article in today's Telegraph on Australia's catching woes:
MAYBE it's just bad luck. Maybe it's because Australia have remodelled their slips cordon. Maybe it's just the pressure. Whatever the reason Australia have succumbed to a rare dose of butter fingers in their Test series against India and it is threatening to prove decisive.
What the online article doesn't contain is the following chart:
Ponting....Laxman....65, 138 ( 148)
The last two were added by me after today's clown fest.
No matter the reason - lack of practice, bad technique, pressure, injury, suspension, luck - the article reveals a poor record that seems to tie in with Scott Wickstein's observation that John Buchanan might be doing something wrong because the article goes on to say:
The Australian team does not train as hard as it used to but this may not necessarily correlate to poor infield catching.
But it may.
I'm of the opinion that over the last few years of dominance, Australia has taken it's catches whereas the opposition have dropped theirs.
When it comes to costly misses, I always think back to Steve Waugh in the West Indies in 1995. As we all know he made 200 in the decisive test, but what's often forgotten is that he was dropped an absolute sitter by keeper Courtney Browne (he was about 40). At that stage Australia were three down and still trailing and it's debatable whether they would have managed a big enough lead to snatch the series.
On the flip side, in recent losses Australia have dropped a bundle in Sydney against England, Martin Love dropped a sitter in slips off Omari Banks in the West Indies record chase and now against India, Australia have been nigh on inept.
It shouldn't be forgotten that Rahul Dravid took a blinder to get rid of Martyn in Adelaide. The kind of catch that can - and in this case has - gone a long way to decide a series.
Australia's attack will weaken over the next few years and the team will struggle with the increased pressure inferred by the expectation of fewer chances. This means that they must firstly remember that "catches win matches" but more importantly that "dropped catches LOSE matches". And do something about it!