England April 30, 2011

Why Fletcher isn't right for India

And why England's players decided against industrial action
53

Tuesday, 26th April Today Alastair Cook called our attention to the plight of dozens of downtrodden cricket professionals, some of them earning as little as £100,000 per annum, who are forced to fly first-class, to train to a peak of fitness at someone else’s expense and to spend days at a time in five-star hotels. Comrade Cook complained that the modern cricketer doesn’t have enough say and implied that something ought to be done about it, whilst playing John Lennon’s “Power To The People” through his iPod speakers.

As a mood of militancy swept the golf courses, top-quality gymnasia and exclusive nightclubs of the nation, there were rumours that the England team might be about to go on strike. But after urgent talks, the Association of Stodgy Top-Order Grinders, the Federation of Flashy Cameo-Makers and the Union of Bowlers and Twitterers all agreed to cancel the planned industrial action on the grounds that actually they were rather well-paid, had lots of time off and really had very little to complain about.

Thursday 28th April The news that bookmakers have been arrested and some may have confessed to making death threats against Zulqarnain Haider has not gone down well at the PCB. Officials are being instructed to exercise extreme caution in opening newspapers, and in the event of being exposed to suggestions that the match-fixing problem is widespread, have been taught advanced emergency techniques, such as carefully inserting one finger into each ear and making, “la la la la la” noises.

I have had some personal experience in dealing with bookies. Not the kind you might find hanging around a hotel bar, offering leather jackets and well-stuffed envelopes to gullible young sportsmen. No, I’m talking about a different breed. In Pakistan, the bookies may be illegal, but they will at least take a bet. Here in Britain we have the opposite problem. Perfectly legal bookies who are reluctant to entertain the idea of taking your money if they think you might win. Prison’s too good for ‘em.

Friday, 29th April Kapil Dev doesn’t think Duncan Fletcher should be Indian coach on the grounds that he doesn’t really know who the man is and doesn’t remember him doing much as a player. Fortunately, India don’t select their coaches on the basis of whether Kapil has ever bumped into him at a social event or what kind of batting average he ended up with. Greg Chappell was one of the greatest batsmen of all time and Gary Kirsten wasn’t. But which of them is the better coach?

If there is a policy of deliberately not picking an Indian coach, then that of course would be absurd. But since we have no evidence that is the case, we have to assume that the BCCI has fallen back on the old-fashioned method of picking the best candidate from among the applicants. What counts against Fletcher most of all is not his sometimes gruff demeanour, his playing career or the fact that he doesn’t speak Hindi. It’s the fact that John Buchanan thinks he’s the right man for the job.

Be afraid India. Be very afraid.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arup Saikia on May 7, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Fletcher's surname recalls the occupation of "arrow-maker" - ideal retaliatory tactic against snipers (read past Indian cricketers) and probably mediapersons.

  • Andrew Hughes on May 1, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. It would be interesting to know if there were any substance behind Gavaskar's claims that there is a policy of not picking Indian coaches.

    Arun, I think I was on safe ground in calling Chappell G one of the greatest of all time. On averages, he is the second greatest Australian batsman, ahead of Ponting and makes pretty much any all time Australian XI that has ever been selected. But you have a point about Kirsten, he was a very good player and in trying to make a point, I unfairly underrated his ability.

    JackieL, I agree with you, striking does take guts, particularly in those parts of the world where there is little protection for workers who take that step.

  • thepostmaster on May 1, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Gary kirsten wasnt a great batsman??? And greg chapel was a great batsman??? LOL, ur out of ur mind mate!

  • Raj on May 1, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    "Greg Chappell was one of the greatest batsmen of all time and Gary Kirsten wasn’t. But which of them is the better coach?" - Whose comment is this ?. However it might i am absolutely certain that the person who has given this comment does not know much about cricket.On what grounds do they claim that chappell was a great batsmen and kirsten wasn't?

  • harish shetty on May 1, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    we cannot I understand why the BCCI is preferring foreighn coach, why we don't have players coach our players. at present our team need no coach (technical purpose) is coaching required to players sachin,sehwag,dravid,laxman,dhoni,yuvi,bajji,khan. meaning less. the present requirement is mental booster that to be Indian ex stars like Mohinder amarnath and sundeep patil. because both are alrounders, both cane be useful for batsman and bowlers. These two should be appointed as coach for atleast 3 years with full authority. moreover, all the present cricketers like these two gutys

  • amedhora on May 1, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Robin Singh is best suited to be the national coach of India

  • subram on May 1, 2011, 2:39 GMT

    It is unfortunate that former Indian cricketers are not being considered. I wonder whether this is the decision of the players or the Board.

  • Ajmer Singh Bains on May 1, 2011, 2:14 GMT

    I am not commenting on Fletcher's suitability at all. What I wish to say here is that there should not be an undeclared prejudice against the coach being an Indian.

    John Wright and Gary's shoes will not be filled by long shots.

  • Imtiaz on May 1, 2011, 2:12 GMT

    to become a good coach you dont have to be a great batsmen or bowler. if that was the case sachin or murali should be the coach. but unfortunately this does not work. to be a good coach you should have good cricket knowledge, man management skills, spending time with team, and so on. I personally feel that a younger coach would have been ideal.

    we know how so called indian greats trained during there days on fitness.

  • arun on May 1, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    I think that duncan fletcher is too old for the job.

  • Arup Saikia on May 7, 2011, 8:00 GMT

    Fletcher's surname recalls the occupation of "arrow-maker" - ideal retaliatory tactic against snipers (read past Indian cricketers) and probably mediapersons.

  • Andrew Hughes on May 1, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. It would be interesting to know if there were any substance behind Gavaskar's claims that there is a policy of not picking Indian coaches.

    Arun, I think I was on safe ground in calling Chappell G one of the greatest of all time. On averages, he is the second greatest Australian batsman, ahead of Ponting and makes pretty much any all time Australian XI that has ever been selected. But you have a point about Kirsten, he was a very good player and in trying to make a point, I unfairly underrated his ability.

    JackieL, I agree with you, striking does take guts, particularly in those parts of the world where there is little protection for workers who take that step.

  • thepostmaster on May 1, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Gary kirsten wasnt a great batsman??? And greg chapel was a great batsman??? LOL, ur out of ur mind mate!

  • Raj on May 1, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    "Greg Chappell was one of the greatest batsmen of all time and Gary Kirsten wasn’t. But which of them is the better coach?" - Whose comment is this ?. However it might i am absolutely certain that the person who has given this comment does not know much about cricket.On what grounds do they claim that chappell was a great batsmen and kirsten wasn't?

  • harish shetty on May 1, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    we cannot I understand why the BCCI is preferring foreighn coach, why we don't have players coach our players. at present our team need no coach (technical purpose) is coaching required to players sachin,sehwag,dravid,laxman,dhoni,yuvi,bajji,khan. meaning less. the present requirement is mental booster that to be Indian ex stars like Mohinder amarnath and sundeep patil. because both are alrounders, both cane be useful for batsman and bowlers. These two should be appointed as coach for atleast 3 years with full authority. moreover, all the present cricketers like these two gutys

  • amedhora on May 1, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Robin Singh is best suited to be the national coach of India

  • subram on May 1, 2011, 2:39 GMT

    It is unfortunate that former Indian cricketers are not being considered. I wonder whether this is the decision of the players or the Board.

  • Ajmer Singh Bains on May 1, 2011, 2:14 GMT

    I am not commenting on Fletcher's suitability at all. What I wish to say here is that there should not be an undeclared prejudice against the coach being an Indian.

    John Wright and Gary's shoes will not be filled by long shots.

  • Imtiaz on May 1, 2011, 2:12 GMT

    to become a good coach you dont have to be a great batsmen or bowler. if that was the case sachin or murali should be the coach. but unfortunately this does not work. to be a good coach you should have good cricket knowledge, man management skills, spending time with team, and so on. I personally feel that a younger coach would have been ideal.

    we know how so called indian greats trained during there days on fitness.

  • arun on May 1, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    I think that duncan fletcher is too old for the job.

  • Venkat on April 30, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    An ideal coach for the Indian team would be one who is self assured but not full of himself, assertive but not aggressive, self-effacing but not timid, tactical but not bookish.

    Can we say Anil Kumble, Nasir Hussein, Fleming, Steve Waugh, Daniel Vettori (when he retires) should at least be in the short list?

  • Suraj on April 30, 2011, 23:18 GMT

    Does any one here mentioning Kapil Dev would have been better coach even remembers he once was the coach of the Indian cricket team? Check the facts and check the results..Duncan Fletcher is right option or not, only time can tell but going with foreign coach is the right option and not least because it avoids the issue of allegations of bias selection and preferential treatment...

  • kersi on April 30, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    Kapil: is this the question of sour grapes. Give credit where it is due .........

  • sunil on April 30, 2011, 23:02 GMT

    how much did kapil care about indian cricket when he was talking to the bookmakers? If kapil is suggesting something its for his own benefit. Unfortunately 80s training methods of having biryani at lunch time with snacks of deep fried samosas and masala chai at tea time dont really hold in the fast paced world of 2011 cricket.

  • gurlal on April 30, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    according to me dav whatmore was the best choice,coz he s the director of NCA national cricket academy..he knws the indian condtion..he is livin in sri lanka for many many years.... but bcci suckls all d time.....

  • Dev on April 30, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    Andrew you lost the plot man. People are seriously discussing your article. Isn't this page 2?!

  • Anonymous on April 30, 2011, 21:19 GMT

    Interesting analysis. Still amused to hear talk of needing an Indian to coach for the team to be succesful??? Have been there most succesful and consistent under first John Wright and then Gary Kirsten...... go figure.

  • Vinod on April 30, 2011, 21:19 GMT

    Indian coaches are political and they can be easy prey to the regional pressure. They can't handle the situation that is around Indian cricket. As for as Kapil and Gavaskar's comment that Indian team is mostly consist of players of Hindi speaking states, I think that is an absurd comment to make. India is made of other states as well and we don't need a Hindi speaking bias in the Indian team.

    Their comment shows why India needs a foreign coach!!

  • Dhananjoy Misra on April 30, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    I don't foresee Indian players carrying Fletcher on their shoulders post the WC 2015 final - probably he is a little too heavy for that.

  • Anubhav on April 30, 2011, 20:53 GMT

    You know Duncan Fletcher's selection as coach by BCCI gives me a deja-vu feeling as like I felt when Gregu was selected. He is an Englishman and I don't feel there is much difference between and Englishman and an Australian except that Australians are rather more grumpy.And it seems that India has some sort of allergy from Australians. Ahhhh--cheeeek

  • shashank gupta on April 30, 2011, 20:06 GMT

    well its not only kapil dev.....almost nobody know who this fletcher is......and Don't compare him with gary as if not great he at least knew and have experienced almost all aspects of batting and face varied bowling in various conditions......and as far as buchanan is concerned is he even sure whether he himself is right coach for india. Australia let only those play who is good while indian team has history of shaping players from boys to greats and that's totally different from australia.......the point is india really really needs a bowling coach ...... BCCi could have approached if they really thought about that.........

  • Roy on April 30, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    I have a lot of respect for people like Kapil Dev, but these kinds for comments really take that respect away. Remember we won a world up under a foreign coach and his argument about "hindi speaking mass" doesn't fly much!! Remember how much Indian players respect Kirsten. BCCI, keep taking forward looking steps..

  • njr1330 on April 30, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    I'm afraid there's only one real candidate; and the BCCI will never have the 'balls' to pick him... Step forward Liz Hurley....er...I mean Shane Warne !!

  • Aditya on April 30, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    "It’s the fact that John Buchanan thinks he’s the right man for the job. " Got the exact feeling when I'd heard Buchanan's words.

  • Jim on April 30, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Do people understand that having been a great batsman doesn't make a good coach? That was the point made in this article as well. Kirsten was a good coach because he was trained in coaching academy and he worked hard in coaching, not because he was a good batsman in his days. Same way, the fact that India produces legends of batsman doesn't make good coach at all! never! Kapil and Gavaskar needs to understand this. Thankfully, BCCI knows the fact, which is what matters.

  • asim das on April 30, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    i'm astonished why no-one considered Venkathapathy Raju for the coaching??

  • Akash on April 30, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    Gary Kirsten has scored about 14k international runs at average of 40 + both in odi & test , and surely was a good batsman

  • Harish on April 30, 2011, 18:09 GMT

    Leave alone the argument on Duncan Fletcher's appointment. Its to be sen as how the Indian players take it in. Still have not seen any reactions from any player, except for Sehwag. It is to be seen as to how the players take him in. Gary was young, energetic, will run with the wind. But here Fletcher is bulky and hardly runs. The plan for BCCI is to get him to mentally be prepared. Fletcher can't do much with the fielding part. He is here to ensure that the batsmen get the required tips on batting while Eric Simmons will take care of the bowling department. Fletcher just needs to give some pep talks and encourage them. It ends there. Dot

  • Ranjan Dhar on April 30, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    I am not very afraid. I am very, very afraid. He will ruin the team!!! Mahi will fall out! The Sourav Ganguly - Chappel episode haunts me. Someone help thee!!

  • Milind Raj on April 30, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    Seriously Fletcher ? I dont think he is a good choice. But then again such is human nature and aided by some luck...that wonders can be done. When Kirsten was appointed I had same feeling but I guess I cannot argue now since he was instrumental in World cup victory a fact acknowledged by players themselves. If by some luck if Fletcher manages to find India a genuine fast bowler everybody will change their opinion. Honestly though the Indian batting is so powerful with a few talented batsmen all set to replace retiring ones that coaching India for batting is not a big deal.Indian batting is very strong ..a fact acknowledged by Ponting, Afridi and Sangakara in their post match speeches after their QF , SF and Final defeats respectively. A bowler coach would have been better . If I was BCCI.. I would have asked McGrath who was not fearsome pace but perfect line & length thinking bowler ... Such talents India already have but just need proper guidance to mould them into effective bowlers.

  • vik on April 30, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Agree that Robin Singh might be a good one to pick for.. .he is very disciplined and has a calm demenour like Kirsten...

  • Steve_Stifler on April 30, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    For people who want Kapil Dev as the coach, step back and remember the 99 tour of OZ? Thats the series when we started finding new ways to lose.. to international sides, domestic side, club sides, grandmas of players etc.

    No peanuts for guessing who the coach was then!!

  • Hussain on April 30, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    excellent CONCLUSION.........:)

  • t.s.john on April 30, 2011, 15:22 GMT

    Kapil Dev was a good cricketer, but whenever he open his mouth it's stupidity that comes out. Just before the world cup final he said Dhoni should be able to handle if his team lose. When over a billion people dreaming of victory why should he be thinking about losing? As a former captain he should encourage and motivate the team. This guy is full of negative thoughts. You should not be spreading his way of thinking through this site.

  • Rahul on April 30, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Coach Kapil- Anyone remembers him? Yes, the "great " Kapil Dev has also been the coach of the Indian team, and no one remembers what India achieved under him.

  • NawabCricket on April 30, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    Under foreign coaches, India has done much better. Case closed.

  • Chris on April 30, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    kapil was d indian coach once but he didnt achieve much.. foreign coaches ve brought new ideas wit them and since their arrival india has won more matches overseas.. legends need not be d best coaches.. coachin and playing r completely different..

  • Anonymous on April 30, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    kapil was d indian coach once but he didnt achieve much..

  • Nahim on April 30, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    @Arun: Greg Chappell was a wonderful batsman in his time, right up there with Viv Richards, Barry Richards and Sunil Gavaskar. He walks into most all-time Australian XIs. And although I'm a huge fan of Kirsten's batting- his doggedness and determination were something to behold- even I've to admit that he ranks as a very good rather than a great batsman.

  • Jack on April 30, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    Better choice for New Indian Coach Robin singh or Lance Klusner,

    Same time in this Article mentioned Gary is a not a very good batsman, It's totaly disagree. Gary also one of the greates Opener.

  • sk on April 30, 2011, 12:33 GMT

    I do agree with Kapil Dev. We have excellent coaches in India. Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil, and Roger Binny and I feel two of them would have made the best coaching team, one assisting another. If not Indian coaches, they should have given the responsibility to Dave Whitmore or Tom Moody.

  • Ismail on April 30, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    Am waiting for Anand to write a piece about this ridiculousness of Sunil.G and Kapil.D wanting hindi speaking coaches. He is Tamil and must be pretty pissed as i am.

  • sagun on April 30, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    keep those comments coming Kapil,too bad not too many people take it seriously.............

  • manish kumar on April 30, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    i think robin singh should be india's new coach.

  • guruprasad bobbilikar on April 30, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    yes it is not right decision because we have many experience senior players but bcci took decision wrong our seniors like kapil, mohinder amarnath, anil kumble sourav ganguly, very mature star players they have qualities about coaching side... and both india conditions also they know.. kapil most powerful manner....

  • abu hamd on April 30, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    Thats right India needs an Indian coach:there is a long list of legends batsmen which India has produced over the years and young lot can get benefit from their experience:

  • Raul on April 30, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    I must say Andrew Hughes you are right on the mark with the statement "It’s the fact that John Buchanan thinks he’s the right man for the job"

    Have absolutely no faith in John Buchanan...infact have more faith in Sharne Warne's coaching ability compared to Greg Chappel & Jon Buchanan.

  • guruprasad bobbilikar on April 30, 2011, 9:38 GMT

    yes it is not right decision because we have many experience senior players but bcci took decision wrong our seniors like kapil, mohinder amarnath, anil kumble sourav ganguly, very mature star players they have qualities about coaching side... and both india conditions also they know.. kapil most powerful manner....

  • amol shinde on April 30, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    wasent fletcher the captain of zimbambwe when kapil hit 175* in 83 world cup.....sure fletcher will always remember kapil.....cant say so about kapil!!!

  • JackieL on April 30, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Strikes are always up for banter unless you have ever been on one of course. Then you realise the sheer nerve and effort involved to walk out into the unknown. It takes guts to go on strike and you have to have high principles to stick it.

  • arun on April 30, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    dont know on what basis you said greg is one of the greatest batsman of all time.........and gary was a very good batsman by the way.

  • rajinder on April 30, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    age factor must be considered while selecting a coach.

  • Anjan Banerjee on April 30, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    "It’s the fact that John Buchanan thinks he’s the right man for the job." - Yes, I'm afraid, I'm very afraid.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Anjan Banerjee on April 30, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    "It’s the fact that John Buchanan thinks he’s the right man for the job." - Yes, I'm afraid, I'm very afraid.

  • rajinder on April 30, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    age factor must be considered while selecting a coach.

  • arun on April 30, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    dont know on what basis you said greg is one of the greatest batsman of all time.........and gary was a very good batsman by the way.

  • JackieL on April 30, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Strikes are always up for banter unless you have ever been on one of course. Then you realise the sheer nerve and effort involved to walk out into the unknown. It takes guts to go on strike and you have to have high principles to stick it.

  • amol shinde on April 30, 2011, 8:44 GMT

    wasent fletcher the captain of zimbambwe when kapil hit 175* in 83 world cup.....sure fletcher will always remember kapil.....cant say so about kapil!!!

  • guruprasad bobbilikar on April 30, 2011, 9:38 GMT

    yes it is not right decision because we have many experience senior players but bcci took decision wrong our seniors like kapil, mohinder amarnath, anil kumble sourav ganguly, very mature star players they have qualities about coaching side... and both india conditions also they know.. kapil most powerful manner....

  • Raul on April 30, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    I must say Andrew Hughes you are right on the mark with the statement "It’s the fact that John Buchanan thinks he’s the right man for the job"

    Have absolutely no faith in John Buchanan...infact have more faith in Sharne Warne's coaching ability compared to Greg Chappel & Jon Buchanan.

  • abu hamd on April 30, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    Thats right India needs an Indian coach:there is a long list of legends batsmen which India has produced over the years and young lot can get benefit from their experience:

  • guruprasad bobbilikar on April 30, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    yes it is not right decision because we have many experience senior players but bcci took decision wrong our seniors like kapil, mohinder amarnath, anil kumble sourav ganguly, very mature star players they have qualities about coaching side... and both india conditions also they know.. kapil most powerful manner....

  • manish kumar on April 30, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    i think robin singh should be india's new coach.