Catches win Matches is probably one of the most famous proverbs in the game of cricket. This is something that we hear from commentators on regular basis. Everyone knows the importance of catches and how a good catch at a crucial stage of the match can turn the game on its head; however we still see plenty of dropped catches every now and then again. This is something that has been the part of cricket from starting days and probably it will remain this way. Thinking about having a 100% success rate as far as catching is concerned is something nearly impossible however having said that the standards of fielding have gone up over past decade or so. These days we don’t see as many dropped catches and missed chances as we used to see some 15 years back.
It has something to do with the average age of cricketers as well. If you follow cricket regularly then you will know that the average age of a cricketer has gone down significantly in recent years. This is mainly due to the introduction of shorter and faster versions of the game. Cricket is turning into a game of younger generations and there are only few cricketers above the age of 30 in current teams. If we look back to the early 90’s we will find that the situation was totally opposite back then, as most of the cricketers started at international level in late 20’s. This decrease in the average age of cricketer has improved the fielding standards, as the young players are more energetic and enthusiastic. This is why you will see very few catches being dropped in an international match these days. Also these young players are raising the bar as far as overall fielding is concerned, and you will see lot more diving catches which were considered almost impossible in early 90’s.
Another factor that can be considered when talking about the fielding standards is the introduction of professional fielding coaches. These days every team has a full time coach dedicated to train the cricketers how to field properly. Therefore the players spend a lot more time practicing catching and that is also one reason we see the number of dropped catches going down significantly with the passage of time.
During a world cup game back in 1999, South African fielder Herschelle Gibbs dropped Australian batsman and than captain Steve Waugh. At the time the catch was dropped Steve Waugh was reported as saying "You just dropped the world cup mate". Australia went on to win that match and eventually won the world cup. So catching is very important and good fielding sides are more favored to win the match.