(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now) Shai Hope
LONDON, England – One of the developing themes in this year's World Cup has been the exceptionally high standard of fielding. Ben Stokes' catch in the very first game set the tone, and since then, we've seen no end of fine catches, energetic ground fielding and improbable direct hits.
All the teams on show have had moments of fine fielding and West Indies have been no exception.
Sheldon Cottrell's boundary catch against Australia was a contender to Stokes' crown of best catch in the tournament. Fielding at deep backward square leg, Cottrell ran around to intercept Steve Smith's airborne flick, managing to hold the ball in his left hand and throw it back into the field of play as his momentum took him over the boundary. Cottrell then had the presence of mind to take the catch once he had regained his balance.
It was certainly the most eye-catching moment of West Indian fielding in the tournament so far, but it was far from being a moment in isolation. Behind the stumps, Shai Hope has been outstanding, taking nine catches in three games with many of them bordering on spectacular. That tally of catches is the highest in the tournament so far and it would be hard to argue that Hope has not been the best wicket-keeper in the tournament to date.
Both Cottrell and Hope score highly on CricViz's fielding metric. The model assesses each player's impact on their side's chances of winning the game, assigning a positive or negative value that can be used to determine how many runs they have saved or conceded in the innings. As the below graph shows, both players feature in the top five of most runs saved.
It signals a massive turnaround in team's fortunes as a fielding team, given the overall fielding score of -66 during the home ODI series against England earlier this year. With fielding set to play a big part as the competition progresses, the signs are encouraging for a West Indies team that looks to be well ahead of the curve.