England coach under fire December 18, 2006

Fletcher's position to be reviewed after World Cup



A grim-faced Duncan Fletcher after the Perth defeat © Getty Images
Duncan Fletcher's position as England coach will be reviewed after the World Cup according to David Collier, the ECB's chief executive.

Collier, speaking in the aftermath of England's loss of the Ashes at Perth, refused to be drawn into detail. "We're in the middle of a series still," he told Reuters. "We've got two important Test matches in Sydney and Melbourne, we've then got the one-day series, we then go into the World Cup. After the World Cup is the time we will truly reflect on where we go for the next four years. We tend to work in four-year cycles."

Fletcher has been widely criticised for some of his selection decisions during this series, in particular playing Ashley Giles ahead of Monty Panesar in the first two Tests and also restoring Geraint Jones in place of Chris Read.

An article in The Times claimed that Fletcher tried to resign as a selector last summer but was talked out of it. He had argued that it would be better if he were not a party to the crucial decisions that would soon have to be taken about the captaincy and the final make-up of the team in Australia.

David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors, backed Fletcher and defended him against claims that the side's preparation had been inadequate. "Duncan and [Andrew Flintoff] were very happy with the preparation building up to tour. As it happened we didn't perform on the day. We have to accept the fact they are better. There is clear water between Australia and any other team in international cricket but that doesn't mean we go into a series without trying to win."

But, speaking on Radio Four's Today show on Tuesday, Graveney did concede that the selection process on overseas tours would have to be looked at. "I'm very happy with the process we have at the present stage. One thing we probably need to look at is what happens away from home."

Flintoff, meanwhile, expressed his commitment to continue as England captain. "I am still proud to be England captain and I always will be," Flintoff said. "It has had its moments. It's a job when I took it on I realised that there are a lot of good things, but it has its downsides and this is one of them.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo