The evolution of fielding in the game of cricket is quite remarkable and the best example of this was in the Women's T20 league fielding effort yesterday by Nattarakan Chanktam .https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=aSBsk8R6QZk
Back in the decade of ’70s and 80’s fielding was not at all necessary and there were players who would escort the ball to the boundary. To be fair close in catching was very much appreciated skill and players like Eknath solkar was known to be great fielder and have been part of Indian cricket’s folklore for taking spectacular catches off the bowling of the great Spin quartet i.e. Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna and Venkat
As ODI’s evolved Indian cricket did notice that other countries like Australia and South Africa had a natural advantage over India since all of them good had good fielders but India had only a few good fielders like Azhar, Ajay Jadeja, and Robin Singh and some of the others were slow movers who needed to hide in the field. Other teams would easily save 20 runs due to their fielding but Indian teams would struggle in the fielding department since they were brought up on dusty grounds where diving could result in injury.
As the New Millenium dawned and the grounds India became better, players were not afraid to dive and slide and they did not fear injuries to their bodies which could derail their careers so then we started seeing players like Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, and Ravindra Jadeja who became exceptional fielders and started impressing even the best fielder of all time i.e. Jonty Rhodes
Once the T20 era started and IPL took off in a big way Fielding became very critical as essential as batting and bowling skills and now even in this IPL we have seen some brilliant fielding
Even more heartening to see is that now even woman has taken fielding quite seriously and lets hope we see more such fielding efforts as was seen yesterday