October 7, 2012

Indian cricket

What's Duncan Fletcher's contribution as India coach?

India's eight overseas Test losses, and reversals in both shorter formats, including India's latest failure in the World Twenty20 aren't a coincidence. Duncan Fletcher might have had the reputation of an effective coach with England, but since he took over as India's coach, points out Nitin Naik in the Times of India, the team's fall has been "too drastic, too brutal."

Often on match-eves, one has seen visuals of Fletcher in close consultation with skipper MS Dhoni and they always seem to be having intense and important discussions. However, results don't seem to suggest that they had worked out something beneficial to the team, or indeed to the players who have been struggling. At this stage, it's only natural to raise the big question: what exactly has he done so far?

India aren't producing enough spinners, former Indian selector Raja Venkat reckoned as being India's challenge, in an interview with Deba Prasad Dhar in DNA. He defended the collective selectors' decision to give Rohit Sharma a "long rope" due to his skills and that of including "all round" cricketer Piyush Chawla in the World Twenty20 squad, among the best in a "bare spin cupboard".

We are struggling to find quality bowlers. If you watch Ranji, there are hardly any spinners to write home about. The medium pacers aren't sustaining themselves. Count in the last three years, how many of them have come and gone. Sreesanth had such a lovely out-swinger. I don't know how he lost his way. In the batting, Virat and Pujara are already there. I've high hopes from Robin Bisht, Mandeep Singh and Unmukt Chand. Among the quicks, Shami Ahmed is sharp. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has promise too. We are at the crossroads. We've lost a few batting legends.

We knew the Sri Lankan tracks would be turners. Amit Mishra had just come out of an injury. Rahul Sharma didn't do well in the India 'A' tour of the West Indies. Piyush is more of an all-round cricketer. And a handy man on the field. He was quite good against England. Against Australia, everybody got hit. Our spin cupboard is bare. We could have only chosen the best amongst them.

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