India news March 14, 2014

Duncan Fletcher's job safe - BCCI secretary

The India coaching staff, comprising the trio of Duncan Fletcher, Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes has received the "wholehearted" support of the BCCI in the wake of raging criticism in the media recently. In the wake of India's defeats on the overseas tours of South Africa and New Zealand and their early exit from the Asia Cup prompted critics to point fingers at the trio, including former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who said he would give Fletcher a rating of 1.5 on a scale of 10 for his coaching acumen.

"We deny all reports about Fletcher's job being in danger," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told ESPNcricinfo. "Everything will continue as it is. No difference (with regards to the coaching staff). Duncan wanted to continue, and he has our whole-hearted support from BCCI."

Fletcher, who took over as the head coach in 2011 after Gary Kirsten left the position, had signed a one-year extension to his contract last year. Although his contract comes to an end on March 31, both he and the BCCI had mutually agreed earlier to continue till the end of the World T20. Despite the BCCI insisting that it had no plans to oust Fletcher, the speculation in the media has persisted about his future.

But when Fletcher did not land along with the rest of the Indian squad in Dhaka earlier today, and instead went to Chennai to meet BCCI president N Srinivasan and Patel and few other senior board officials, the doubts grew louder about the coach's fate. However Patel silenced all the doubters, denying all claims of the BCCI deciding to sack anyone from the coaching staff.

Asked if the renewal of the coaching staff's contracts were discussed, Patel said it was a routine meeting where the BCCI wanted to take stock of the situation. "It was a normal meeting. Unfortunately due to a busy schedule we could not meet the coaches. Normally what happens is during our one-on-one meetings we (BCCI and coach) discuss what their requirements are and if they need any extra support and all such things. Since we had not met for a while, we decided to call the coaches," Patel said.

An annoyed Patel rubbished speculation brewing in the media and even questioned certain reports. "Who are we to give an ultimatum? And will a person like Duncan listen to us giving any ultimatum? There was no discussion about any such thing," Patel said. "People are using words like summons issued to coaches. Are they culprits to be issued summons?"

However, India captain MS Dhoni had to face the question about Fletcher when he landed in Dhaka for his first press conference ahead of the World T20, having skipped the traditional pre-tour press conference . Asked about the coach's absence, Dhoni refused to answer. The Indian team's media manager even said they were not aware of any meeting between the coach and the BCCI.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo