Dravid is not a natural catcher: Mark Waugh

March 27th, 2009 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh Sydney, March 27 (IANS) Australian Mark Waugh, whose record of catches is about to be broken by Rahul Dravid, feels the Indian is not a natural catcher but he makes up for it with his high level of concentration.
Dravid has edged level with Waugh on 181 catches. He has taken the vast majority of his catches from spinners - 99 from Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh alone - a feat that Waugh rates highly because there is often less time to react.

“You might only get one ball in the field all day and you’ve got to catch it an inch off the ground. That’s a concentration thing, switching on and off between deliveries,” Waugh was quoted as saying in Sydney Morning Herald.

“Dravid is good but he’s got a funny style. He’s not a natural catcher but he’s got great concentration and he’s in the right place at the right time,” Waugh said, while predicting Ricky Ponting, who has racked up 148 catches in 131 Tests, would one day dislodge the Indian.

Among current players, only Graeme Smith (104 catches from 77 Tests) is likely to challenge the top order.

Waugh and Bob Simpson, another renowned slips catcher and former holder of the record, believe they learned their skills as kids with tennis balls, which Simpson says teach you to use soft hands.

Separating catching quality from longevity is hard, although catches per innings is a pointer - and one that ranks Simpson (.940) significantly above Waugh (.738), Dravid (.738) and Ponting (.575). The missing feature is the number of catches shelled. On that, Waugh and Simpson are in perfect agreement.

“You don’t judge a slipper on the great catches they take - sometimes, you judge them on the percentage they drop,” Simpson said.

Waugh admits: “I actually think they should have a statistic of how many catches you drop, like baseball - that’s probably the best judge of how good a catcher you are.”

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