A captain and fielders help bowlers in picking wickets. A bowler is complimented by these two players. He needs to constantly create opportunities to pick wickets.
Do catches win matches is a wrong question – because on its own, fielding (let alone catches and run out) don’t win you matches. Batsman’s lapse of concentration, or a great ball bowled by bowler – creates opportunities which fielders should grasp, and captain should understand.
To find its true value and relation to success of team, we need to connect fielding stats (right one) with bowling statistics.
I also believe field setting is key to bowling. If captain/fielders compliment bowler’s limitation and set field accordingly than result will come much faster. E.g most times we see there are no close in fielder when a bouncer is bowled…either its randomly bowled, or captains haven’t thought about placing a fielder at right spot.
Here are couple of links related to fielding.
Some teams have this theory about decision making skills for slip fielders. The first slip has more authority over 2nd slip, viz – if ball is travelling between them then first slip will take the decision to catch/stop the ball. However both of them need to be in synch to understand that decision.
Collecting a throw
The best method is to collect a throw – once it has either passed the line of target or in line with the target. If you collect the ball before or after than you would miss fraction of seconds to dislodge the bails. This will enable batsmen to reach the crease safely.
There is a scientific reason for this. The ball travels much faster than human hands, hence if you collect the ball before it reaches the target(stumps), you are basically stopping and starting the ball’s direction… which takes more time to make a dismissals!.