Penney defends India’s missed opportunities
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In recent months, it has been the usual practice of the Indian team to dispatch one of their younger players or someone from their backroom staff (seldom their head coach, of course) to face the press after a bad day in the field.
On Wednesday, the burden fell on their fielding coach. It was a puzzling choice. As Day Two had unfolded, Trevor Penney must have watched his charges with a growing sense of frustration. It began in the third over after lunch, when Zaheer Khan steamed in to bowl to the left-handed Alastair Cook, who was batting on 17. England were 27 for no loss.
In the previous over, Ishant Sharma had twice beaten Cook, with deliveries that had jagged away off the seam. Zaheer had then bowled three balls to the England skipper. The first reverse-swung into him, and the next two had hinted at shaping away, but were wide enough to leave.
Expecting the next ball to swing in, Cook jabbed. The ball kissed his outside edge and flew low towards Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip.
Pujara got his hands under the ball, but spilled it. He had looked unbalanced while he reached for the ball. Or it might have had something to do with the knee operation he had undergone last year. Or the fact that he hadn't taken off the shin-pads he had worn while fielding at short leg the previous over.
Penney didn't make too much of it. "He got both hands to it," he said. "He just dropped the catch."
Pujara was also new to the position. Virender Sehwag has fielded there before, and might have been a more natural choice to succeed Rahul Dravid.
"We have got lots of different slip fielders. Pujara has been practising a lot there. He is one of our better slippers over the last month or so," said Penney. "I know he dropped a catch today, but that happens in cricket."
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