India news February 21, 2014

BCCI to review away performances

The top brass of the BCCI is likely to meet MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher to discuss India's overseas performances which have been consistently on the decline in the last three years. It is understood that the BCCI is concerned, but is not at all thinking about replacing the pair whose positions have come under the scanner once again after the 1-0 Test defeat in New Zealand.

"We want to take stock of the situation," a BCCI insider told ESPNcricinfo. "We want to know what is going wrong. We would like to know from them what is required to improve." According to this official, despite the public criticism of the roles of Dhoni and Fletcher in the past week, the BCCI still retained the confidence in the combination which started work formally from India's tour of England in 2011.

Since then India have lost every overseas tour. India suffered 4-0 whitewashes in England followed by Australia, lost 1-0 to South Africa last December and the series against New Zealand by a similar margin recently. Fletcher's overseas record says 10 defeats in 15 matches while Dhoni has lost nine out of the 14 Tests he has led India in overseas, since Fletcher's appointment.

Fletcher's contract is up for renewal from April 1 and there has been speculation in sections of media about his future. A media report on Friday suggested the BCCI had contacted former England coach Andy Flower. However, the BCCI official denied the report and called it mere speculation.

The overseas defeats have triggered a wide-ranging debate including some scathing remarks from two recent former India captains: Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.  "Our reputation has been tarnished, but Dhoni needs help," Ganguly told TV channel Headlines Today. "I don't know what Duncan Fletcher is doing. The approach needs to be right, and Fletcher needs to help Dhoni. He has clearly struggled and he needs to be more involved. He needs to plan better and the selectors have to assess and get the right squad."

Joe Dawes, India's bowling coach, was also pulled up by Ganguly who felt that the Queenslander's working style was not entirely convincing. "I saw Allan Donald in South Africa, walking around the boundary line, talking to his bowlers. But I don't see Joe Dawes doing that."

If Ganguly was severe on the coaches, Dravid felt Dhoni had grown defensive in his approach abroad. "I think he's got to realise this very quickly, that if he wants to win Test matches abroad, he's got to risk it all," Dravid told ESPNcricinfo reviewing the New Zealand Test series. "He's got to take that chance that he's going to have to lose some Test matches. The only way you can win abroad is to take a few risks, take a few gambles."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo