There are two types of fielders; people who are allowed to field in the slips and those who aren’t.
This is more down to the fielder’s reactions that their ability to catch.
The edge that flies straight into the body is regulation for the slip fielder, but many club and Academy cricketers struggle to react to catches either side of their body simply because of the variation in the pitch.
The more variation in the pitch the greater variation in the carrying edge.
But there are a couple of things you can do to improve your chances of reaching and holding these difficult chances.
Your base position will have a great say in how well you move yourself to take the chance.
Footwork is key, not only with moving yourself to cover ground but simply taking a catch either side of you whilst stationary.
Position your feet to angle inwards slightly, with your weight not only on the balls of your feet but also on the inside. The angle of your feet will naturally do this for you, but it is important to check.
By doing this you will find it is easier to push off to either side. Because your feet are pointing inwards, it basically means your legs are pointing the right way to push off with most efficiency.
Your thigh muscles are some of the strongest in your body, so it is crucial to engage these in order to get your body to move.
Secondly, it is a time old suggestion, but staying low does help improve holding on to the tricky low catches. After all it is quicker to use your muscles to lift yourself than it is to fall. But more importantly it is easier to keep sight of a ball that is above your eye-line than it is to follow a ball dipping below.
Try to remember these techniques if you get chance to impress; although I can’t guarantee it will be an instant ticket to be recalled to the slips after you’ve spent all last season at square leg.