Harmanpreet Kaur: Harleen Deol’s catch a reflection of India’s improved fielding under Abhay Sharma

‘The field placements and the work we have been putting in as a team, we are getting more results out of them day by day’ – Harmanpreet Kaur © Getty Images

Harmanpreet Kaur has described Harleen Deol‘s stunning catch to dismiss England’s Amy Jones in the first T20I on Friday as a “brilliant” effort that was reflective of the Indian team’s renewed focus on more agile performances under fielding coach Abhay Sharma.

In an over that involved three superlative pieces of fielding – two catches, by Kaur and Deol, and a stumping by Richa Ghosh – India sent back two set England batters – Nat Sciver and Jones – and the in-form Sophia Dunkley. After Kaur caught Sciver off the second ball of the 19th over to break the duo’s 42-ball 78 stand, Deol pulled off a breathtaking solo effort of her own, by the wide long-off boundary.

Catching Jones’ powerfully struck shot overhead inches inside the rope, Deol flung the ball in the air before the momentum carried her on the other side of the boundary. She, however, recovered swiftly enough to throw herself back inside the rope, catching the ball in the air in time, diving forward, and then rolling over sideways to complete a catch that has since earned praise from the opposition team and has gone viral on social media.

“Yes, definitely [it’s one of the best catches I’ve ever seen],” Kaur, the India T20I captain, said on Saturday. “We are working a lot on our fielding department and I’m really happy the way we fielded yesterday. It’s a great positive I can see in the game. It was a great effort from her. Credit goes to all our support staff and our team members who are putting efforts during our fielding sessions.

“Abhay sir,” she said, “has been working with us for a while now. The little differences in awareness we have seen in our fielding – we had been putting a fair bit of effort earlier too – the small adjustments he has been making in every player’s fielding, focusing on individual fielding sessions [has been paying off].

“And something I particularly like about his approach – judging what areas a player needs to better their fielding in. The field placements and the work we have been putting in as a team we are getting more results out of them day by day. It’s a great positive.”

Kaur, who herself took an immaculately timed forward-diving catch at long-on to remove half-centurion Sciver, with the ball dipping on her, praised India’s overall ground fielding and catching in the first T20I. India lost the match by 18 runs via the DLS method but Kaur said India’s improved fielding boded well for the team.