India fielding coach T Dilip reckons that India's direct-hit percentage is something that has improved in the recent past. He cited the direct hit from KL Rahul in the T20 World Cup 2022 that dismissed Litton Das as an example.
"There are certain areas where we have certainly improved over a period of time. If you look at the number of direct-hit percentages in the World Cup and that one direct hit from KL Rahul changed the course of the match," Dilip told the media after India's optional training session at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
"That's something we are looking at as a group and if you look at its overall ratio, even though there are no run outs, the number of times we have hit the stumps has improved a bit. That's one area we will keep improving," he added.
Speaking of Rahul, who missed the optional training session, Dilip believes that he adds a lot of balance to India's middle-order. "We all know that KL Rahul is a wonderful player. He has a proven record. Even in ODIs, in the middle-order, he has proven enough as a batter," Dilip said.
"As a wicketkeeper, he gets a lot of balance into the team because he gives an advantage.
"Since he is not someone who has picked the gloves just now – he has been doing that since a younger age – he adds a lot of things. Not that difficult to work on his wicket-keeping, apart from refining a few aspects."
The fielding coach also confirmed that Shreyas Iyer is all but set to miss the ODI series against Australia. Shreyas' lower-back injury resurfaced during the fourth Test against Australia in Ahmedabad and as a result, did not bat or take the field for the majority of the game.
"Injuries are a part and parcel of the game. We have the best medical facilities and they are well-equipped. We are in coordination [with NCA]," the India fielding coach said.
"Shreyas ruled out of this series. [We will be able to provide] further update as and when we know," he further explained.
Rohit Sharma will miss the first ODI in Mumbai due to personal reasons. In his absence, Hardik Pandya will lead the side.
Speaking of Pandya, Dilip said, "He is the captain now officially. But he has been in our leadership group for all these matches and he's proven in T20s what he can bring on table as a captain.
"Even if Rohit is the captain, he is part of our leadership group, he adds a lot of value to the team, not only you, we all are looking forward to him. He is well-equipped to do it," Dilip said."
Dilip said that the young players can look up to Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja for the way they give it all while fielding.
"They have proven over a period of time, they have been role models in terms of what they can contribute in fielding. Players do look up to them. What special I see when they come to practice is the intensity. Even after proving themselves, they carry that intensity, which rubs on to the youngsters," he said.
India go into the series on the back of a 2-1 Test series win over Australia. The two teams will clash once again in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval between June 7 and 11.