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October 23, 2006
Boycott's comments came in the aftermath of England's defeat by Australia in the Champions Trophy. He said that Fletcher, who has been in the job for seven years, had reached the end of his shelf-life.
"If you talk to people like John Wright and Bob Woolmer, successful coaches with a lot of international experience, they will tell you the job comes with a shelf-life," Boycott wrote in his column for The Daily Telegraph. "And Fletcher has just reached the end of his.
"I'm not saying he is a terrible coach. In fact, I think he has done a good job. But, after a while, I believe a coach runs out of new ideas and the players get comfortable and complacent with him. He almost becomes too familiar and the players stop listening."
Boycott argued that Fletcher's weakness had always been in the one-day game, where in more than 150 matches since he took charge, England have won under half. In the last 12 months the results have been dismal, with only six wins in 26 ODIs.
He pointed out that Fletcher's constant tinkering with the batting order has not helped. "What is he doing with Michael Yardy? This is a left-arm spinner with just a handful of internationals to his name. And he went in at No 3 against India and No 5 against Australia. It's crazy.
"If I were playing for England and the team sheet went up and Yardy was batting in front of me, there would be hell to pay. I wouldn't let it happen. How do you think it makes other batsmen in the team feel? What sort of message does that send out if a left-arm spinner who bats a bit goes in ahead of you?"
And Boycott was equally scathing about the bowling, singling out the handling of the out-of-sorts Steve Harmison whose action, he claimed, needed remedial work. "But if it is so obvious to all of us ex-players," he added, "what are our coaching staff doing?
"Somebody needs to shake Harmison out of his malaise, but this set-up just seems to be too cosy for anyone to make that happen."
And he aimed a couple of shots at the senior management in the ECB as well, who he described as being "too comfy". He concluded: [David] Morgan (the ECB's chairman) may think Fletcher has a job for life, but that is just a recipe for stagnation. The time to move on is now. The dressing room needs some new personnel with fresh ideas and the ability to stimulate the players."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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