CB Series, 2006-07 January 29, 2007

Morgan offers Fletcher support

Cricinfo staff

David Morgan: backing Fletcher for the moment © Getty Images

David Morgan, the chairman of the ECB, has leant his backing to England's beleaguered coach, Duncan Fletcher, by insisting - as David Graveney, the chairman of selectors did yesterday - that his job is not under immediate threat despite the wave of defeats that the team is currently being subjected to in Australia.

Fletcher's one-day record against the top eight Test-playing nations is poor but, with the World Cup in the West Indies looming, Morgan is aware that a change of personnel in the short-term could be even more destabilising for the team. "What we decided to do is not have any final decisions about what his [Fletcher's] aspirations are until the end of this tour," Morgan told BBC Radio Five Live. "I don't anticipate him going. That is my assessment of the position."

Graveney, meanwhile is convinced Fletcher retains the full confidence of the ailing England dressing-room, and insists the players are desperate to claim a much-needed victory over New Zealand on Tuesday to ease the pressure on their coach. He told the BBC: "Duncan is hurting the same as everyone else - and when I say everyone else I mean the players, the management and every England cricket fan.

"He is trying to do the job on a day-to-day basis with the same intensity and I am sure the players know if there is one thing they want to do on Tuesday it is to win for Duncan Fletcher. [He] is still the England coach and he retains the support of everyone close to the team and the team in particular. Our main objective is to start winning some games on this tour."

Rather than using Fletcher as a convenient scapegoat for an Ashes tour rated by many experts as the worst in England cricket history, Graveney insists the players must shoulder much of the blame for the sorry displays.

"They have to assess their performances each day by looking at themselves and saying, 'have I done everything I possibly can for this team?' The two performances in Adelaide were way off the standards we expect from this national team.

"I don't want to make excuses because I don't think that is particularly appropriate at this stage."

Michael Vaughan has also come out in support of Fletcher, but the debate rages on about who would the favourite to replace him as coach.