India news November 12, 2012

Dravid wants more powers for Fletcher

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rahul Dravid has called for giving more powers to India coach Duncan Fletcher, and for the role of the national coach to be made more hands-on and accountable. Fletcher, he says, has a lot to offer Indian cricket and needs to be more involved in team selection.

"Duncan has a lot of strengths as a coach," Dravid said on Time Out, ESPNcricinfo's fortnightly audio podcast, which will be featured on Wednesday, November 14. "He connects well with a lot of the players and works quite well with them. But, in some ways, the scope or power that he has to make decisions or to make selections has been a little limited."

Dravid pointed out that India's earlier overseas coaches had played a more active role in team composition, a practice that changed in the Gary Kirsten era. "I remember John Wright or Greg Chappell consistently attending selection committee meetings, watching domestic matches. I think over the last three-four years we've seen that coaches have taken a slightly more detached, or slightly more backward, role to our selections. I don't think Gary watched a lot of domestic cricket. Duncan has not really done that as well."

After the retirement of VVS Laxman and Dravid, India are looking to fill two spots in the middle order and Dravid said Fletcher's knowledge would be of great help in finding the answer. "He's seen a lot of players… who's a better middle-order player among Manoj Tiwary, an Ajinkya Rahane or a Shikhar Dhawan or Murali Vijay? At least, to have an opinion, an informed opinion by actually coming and watching some games…The fact that he didn't come and didn't attend the selection committee meeting tells you that maybe that's not in his scope of work, he doesn't have those powers."

Dravid said that giving Fletcher an active role in selection meetings would be important. "You want to give people powers and you want to hold them accountable, especially when you have senior, knowledgeable people like Duncan." Conceding that he was not aware of Fletcher's own opinion on the subject, Dravid said, "I think his reputation is on the line as well. I think, knowing someone like him, he would want to get more involved and have a say in where his own career and his own reputation is headed."

A coach like Fletcher, he believed, could easily bridge the gap between being a player's trusted confidante as well as his selector. "Some of these people [coaches] do have the maturity to be able to understand that when players come to them with a problem, they don't necessarily use that as a way to drop someone. But also the coach sees players from such close quarters, he understands players. So I think he [Fletcher] must have a say [in selection]."

Dravid said Fletcher had put greater emphasis on fitness after India's losses overseas and hoped that would reflect in the forthcoming season. "Definitely after the loss, he has put a lot of emphasis on the fitness and certain disciplines of the players and knowing and talking to maybe some of them. Over the last few months, there has been a little bit more focus on fitness and disciplines and the basics in skill levels of some players. Hopefully we'll see some of that in these Test series."

Fletcher got the India job on the recommendation of his predecessor Kirsten and Dravid said both men had strengths but were not similar coaches. "Gary was a terrific coach, a really good man-manager, very hardworking person who led with example in a lot of ways in the way he worked. Duncan, obviously because of an age difference, maybe doesn't have that personal connect with some of the players. Or the level of conversations that he can have with some of the guys are maybe a little different to what Gary could have had because he played with some of them.

"But, I think, Duncan has a lot to offer in terms of a coach, in terms of the tactics, his knowledge of the game, he works well in that area, he works quite closely with a lot of players... I think the relationship is good within the team."

Fletcher, he said, would eventually be judged by his results. "The results haven't been great in the last one year. That's why these questions are being raised."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 15, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Any foreign coaches for that matter have limited say in selection matters. Greg Chappel was more vocal and was shown the door. So it is obvious, Fletcher does not want to antagonize the seniors in the camp.

  • D on November 14, 2012, 19:29 GMT

    Nice reading between the lines... Dravid thinks Fletcher is just sitting back enjoying a "nice little earner" and has given up worrying about his reputation. He might well be right. When he was England coach, Fletcher was very deeply involved with selection. For example, he plucked James Anderson (not the Facebook James Anderson who commented here) and Marcus Trescothick out of relative obscurity to be part of the national squad. No sign of him being given - or demanding - that kind of freedom in India. Can't blame him, I suppose. A man deserves his retirement.

  • narbavi on November 14, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    @Nampally: So what do u expect him to do now?? Start a revolution?? come on!!

  • Rangarajan on November 14, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    1) I Think Rahul D is a bit sarcastic about "talented" "knowledgeable" Duncan. His track record as a coach reflects far from that. What has he done with is knowledge with England is something which we are still debating upon.

    2) With due respects to everyone, I think Greg Chappel was not all that bad. He was the one who kept harping on "Fast bowlers" (and whatever India won abroad were because of Fast bowlers and NOT because of the famed batting lineup). If at all, batsment prevented losses but our pacers won matches. Gary just put into practice what Chappel suggested and we got decent results. Greg to me, was the one who emphasized a lot on discipline which our super stars lacked. And that lack of discipline is definitely hurting India more. Greg was the one who emphasized on youth. He interacted directly with media and that was the whole problem. But to me, beyond 2007 WC, which I feel our guys lost on purpose just to see Chappel's exit, Chappel did produce decent results.

  • Kalpesh on November 14, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    What is equally worrying is are the selectors aware how long will Sachin play or for that matter what is Zaheer's long term plan? Is there is a plan in place? Has this been spoken with the coach or for that matter with the captain? The concern that most Indian fans will share is while our away record is only getting worst, looking at the this Indian team our home record is under serious threat. May be not against England but when the Aussies visit India in 2013 and looking at their hunger, I would be happy if we can draw the series as wiining is almost out of the window now. Don't think MS Dhoni is too keen on Test Cricket anyway and quite frankly nothing wrong with that. What India needs is fresh blood - if the openers fail in this series - right time to look beyond the 2. But will this happen, absolutely not. I'm pretty certain the selectors will never ever do it. As an Indian fan this is increasingly frustrating. We can only hope for a miracle.

  • Ashok on November 14, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    I am sorry Rahul Dravid, if you can do something positive for improvement of the Indian team, DO IT. There is no point in being another arm chair critic. You are familiar with the politics of the game amongst the players, BCCI & the Selectors. So let us see some ACTION instead of more comments. There are hundreds of Fans so frustrated with the performance of this Indian team. Why do we need Dravid joining us Fans, who cannot be involved in any Action. Fans see MSD's performance sloppy enough to be replaced while Dravid backs him!. Kirsten was magnificient with the same powers as Fletcher & won the ODI & brought India to #1 Test team in the world. How can the same team sink so low? It is clearly a combo of poor coaching & Captaincy + irrational team selection. If opening batsmen are not performing replace them. There are at least 4 guys waiting! If the bowlers are not up to mark, coach them. The same applies to Captain & the coach. Get BCCI, Coach, Captain & Selectors jointly to act!.

  • Kalpesh on November 14, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    One of the primary reason why Indian cricket will be a good team but never a great team is because of the way the game is run by BCCI. There is no doubting BCCI's ability to run the game well commercially but when it comes to pure Cricket the Board, one gets the impression intentionally wants to run the game in this fashion. Regardless of what people say there is a lot to learn from Australia, England, SAF and NZ for that matter. What is hard to understand is how can MS Dhoni escape 8-0? As much I like him as a captain and apparent lack of bowling depth, very hard to believe he is still the captain. The issue which has bogged Indian Cricket for long is lack of Accountability. Why can't we have Captain and Coach making strong contribution in selection matter? Why can't the selectors convey to a particular player on what they feel? Why can't someone like Sehwag, Raina and for that matter even Gambhir be told they can't get away with such poor scores? As an Indian fan we can only hope.

  • Al on November 14, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    Let Duncan Fletcher have a say in selection of Indian squad. He will have the guts to drop non-performers like Sachin and Sehwag, and give a chance to deserving youngsters like Dhawan, Mukund, Rahane, etc.

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    I thought Indian fans were truly worried about the performance of minnows such as SL. Whats all this? You may be a soon becoming a minnow too.Please get your house in order before talking about your neighbours.

  • Tarun on November 13, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    In my opinion, Duncan Fletcher is a decent coach, but however needs to be 'more hands in" then he currently is....By this I mean, that he should be interacting more with the players, rather than taking a back seat...I personally, was a fan of Gary Kirsten's coaching ways, as he took India to No.1 in tests, and The World Cup was won under him...Under Fletcher, we have not had limited success specially overseas, losing 7 straight matches...

    Good to luck to India against England tomorrow, hopefully we can see a better performance!

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