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November 1, 2007
Former England coach Duncan Fletcher has slammed the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for organising an independent review of England's 5-0 Ashes defeat in 2006-07. The ECB had commissioned former European golf director Ken Schofield to provide a report on the state of English cricket after the Ashes loss.
In the latest extract in the Daily Mail from his autobiography, Behind the Shades, Fletcher defended England's Test record during his tenure and questioned the need for a review after "one very poor series against one of the best teams in the history".
He was also unhappy about not being informed of the setting up of the review. "But nothing had prepared me for the thunderbolt with which Mike Atherton struck me after we had lost the final Test in Sydney. Doing an interview for Sky Sports he had asked me about an independent review which he had learnt was to be conducted into our defeat.
"I knew nothing about it. This was a terrible way to find out. Nobody had the decency to tell me," he said. "I can honestly say that was the lowest point of my cricketing career. I felt completely isolated."
Fletcher said he first contemplated retiring after a meeting with then ECB chairman David Morgan and ECB chief executive David Collier about the scope of the Schofield Report.
"In Australia, a couple of days after the review's announcement, I even had to phone Morgan and ECB chief executive David Collier for a meeting about it. When I questioned them they allowed me to look through their terms of reference. Some of them did not exactly give me a confidence boost. My mood sank a little lower.
"I was a depressed man as I walked away from that meeting in Sydney with Morgan and Collier. For the first time resignation thoughts entered my mind. 'Hold on, what's going on here?' I thought. 'Is it really worth carrying on?'"
Fletcher also said his perceived lack of communication was a result of the lack of confidentiality in his dealings with the ECB. "I would communicate a lot more if there was more confidentiality. I know there is none so I keep things to myself. Why talk if people are going to blab?"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the fourth ODI between Australia and South Africa at the MCG