The catch that Doug Bualinger took in the match between Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals to dismiss Yusuf Patel has been introduced into the lexicon of fielding as a new way to catch a ball when it is on the boundary line and there are chances that it might sour over the fence. Even in the last night match between Delhi DareDevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore, David Warner tried to do the same thing. He was successful, but for the fact that the cameras caught the triangular advertisement board on the boundary in a fleeting manner and it could be discerned only through freeze frame shots of camera.
Thanks to advent of IPL the fielding standards have indeed risen to meteoric levels and each team is trying to create new benchmarks, but what Bualinger did was a feat that has never been done before nor is there a recorded evidence of it being done anytime anywhere. But there indeed is evidence in the form of cinematic oeuvre. Just refer back to LAGAAN and then it would become clear. LAGAAN was replete with such innovative measures that were adopted in the field by Aamir Khan’s team, which was the deciding factor in his team defeating the English team. One such instance was about the ball catching and the second instance was hitting the ball for a six over the back of the wicketkeeper, a feature that was shown for the first time in LAGAAN.
Apart from the awe-inspiring moment that it has become, it is also reflection of a body that is supremely fit, agile and has an innovative streak to react to the situation. These are the characteristics that catch the eyeballs and provide source of entertainment and endorsement for the player concerned as also the audience.
Remember the catch that Harbhajan Singh had taken to dismiss Andrew Symonds in their last outing, and the approval that he sought from the fielding coach of Mumbai Indians, Jonty Roads. Well, this is what IPL is all about and when a history of IPL would be written tomorrow it would be innovations of these kinds that would be its underlining features.
Cricket no more would be the same again, now it is a game that requires a supremely fit and agile body that can sprint at a faster pace, has the ability to leap up in the sky and scoop the ball like a basketball shot and then subsequently catch it. The new way of catching introduced by Bualinger could indeed become a norm for taking high catches, which otherwise has a chance of spooning out.
By: Suman Rai