The Ashes 2006-07 December 19, 2006

'Players still respect me' - Fletcher



Duncan Fletcher says he is still enjoying the job as England coach © Getty Images

Duncan Fletcher claims to have the confidence of the England players and will continue to review his position on a six-monthly basis despite the crushing Ashes loss in Perth. England's playing defence of the prize they won in 2005 lasted only 15 days and Fletcher has been seen as a crucial figure behind the loss.

However, he said he would not rush a decision on his future and believed he was capable of improving the side. "I still have the players' confidence, they still come to me on numerous occasions and still talk to me about tactics," he said. "I have the respect of the players and that's very important."

Fletcher will speak to David Collier, the ECB chief executive, when he arrives in Melbourne next week and will continue to judge his suitability for the position every six months. The only problem is that he's not sure when the period starts or ends. Fletcher usually considers his role at the conclusion of the English domestic season and the beginning of the next campaign, but today he spoke of a "moving six months".

"I'll look at it when I feel like I'm enjoying the job or not enjoying the job, as simple as that," he said. "I am enjoying it. You have your ups and your downs and as long as there are more ups than downs you enjoy the job."

England suffered a severe trough on Tuesday when they lost by 206 runs at the WACA to hand over the urn and Fletcher did not take individual responsibility for the series defeat. "There is blame on all of us," he said. "Everyone has to be blamed. How we performed, how we selected it, if they feel they want to blame us in those areas we have to take those responsibilities."

Despite the speed at which England handed over the Ashes, Fletcher said he was happy with the squad's preparation for the series and would not have changed the teams for the first two matches. The selections of Ashley Giles, James Anderson and Geraint Jones were scrutinised as they underperformed while Monty Panesar, who came in for the Perth Test, made an instant impact with eight wickets.

"The decisions aren't easy and to select is very, very difficult," Fletcher said. "From our point of view the people criticising now are the ones who run with the foxes and hunt with the hounds. All we can do is run with the fox. At the end of the day all we can do is make these very difficult decisions."

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo