Sharda Ugra
Sharda Ugra Sharda UgraRSS FeedFeeds  | Archives
Senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Where did the old Duncan Fletcher go?

India's coach seems a far cry from the combative professional who took England to the top

Sharda Ugra

November 13, 2012

Comments: 47 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher have a word during a training session, Hyderabad, August 21, 2012
Fletcher's inscrutability and the air of calmness around the team are beginning to wear thin © AFP

What's an innocent foreign coach to do in India? Where the game is run by an overweening board, teams are picked by parochial selectors, every player is a superstar who doesn't obey any instructions, and there's an out-of-control media that harangues the poor foreigner every waking moment.

That's the easiest - and perhaps most lazy and clichéd - line that can be taken in favour of India's current coach, Duncan Fletcher.

Particularly when England, the country he coached successfully from 1999 to 2007, have come touring. Fletcher's significance with the Indian team in his 18 months on the job is a bit of a cipher. That word, cipher, can be interpreted in one of two ways, either of which could fit Fletcher's impact on the team: cipher as in a secret code or cipher as in zero.

It could well be that the code is playing itself out in a dressing room full of earnest goodwill and jollity. To amateur, unprofessional eyes, these are unseen sophistications. Fletcher, after all, came to India on a very strong recommendation from the previous coach, Gary Kirsten, as the ideal man to handle India's difficult generational "transition".

Fletcher is considered a repository of great cricketing knowledge, an astute tactician who can spot players' strengths and flaws at a glance, and a man in possession of a wry sense of humour. It sounds perfect, but in the results column, the code is hard to decipher.

Under Fletcher, India's overseas record - their most palpable, visible improvement in the preceding decade - was suddenly upended into an 8-0 pasting in England and Australia. Eight defeats, not even one draw wrested out of the opposition.

Leave aside the rash of injuries, nefarious pitches, and what insurance companies call random acts of god, the least these numbers indicate is that the transition is not going well under the man supposed to be shepherding it.

Had 8-0 taken place ten years ago, either Sourav Ganguly or John Wright would have lost his job. Six years ago, pick between Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell. Sachin Tendulkar, whose captaincy is never lauded, led India in 13 away Tests (South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia) and returned with six defeats and seven draws. Not 8-0.

Yet there has, in India, been a swift institutional moving on from 8-0. A combination of circumstances is responsible: a selection committee that saw out its term by living off the World Cup victory, ten Tests at home this season, every alternative captaincy candidate struggling for form. Along with this (to borrow a word from Rahul Dravid, though he referred to it in a different context on ESPNcricinfo's Time Out) came a "cocoon" mindset. In this case, think head, sand and ostrich.

In May this year, at a working committee meeting, Anil Kumble, as KSCA president, made a civil inquiry about the questions to be put, post 8-0, to the Dhoni-Fletcher team. An equally civil reply followed, stating that the query would indeed be raised with Dhoni-Fletcher by the president, aka N Srinivasan.

It is not known what has transpired since Kumble's query, or whether ultimatums have been issued. From the outside, though, Dhoni and Fletcher look like the Teflon Twins. The din around Dhoni's leadership has been misdirected, coming in the wake of the recent World Twenty20. From the outside, never mind having to dodge bullets, Fletcher hasn't even sighted the artillery, because, according to one informed opinion, "his reputation has saved him".

Yes, Fletcher faces obstacles: his hands are tied, his powers are limited, and his authority is undermined. Yet he will have known this before he took the job. Kirsten would not have let his coaching mentor dive into the deep end without detailing these hardship taxes around what is not a bad salary: approximately US$250,000-per year, all-included, with five return trips home and back with family, a support staff of his choice, and a clause in his two-year contract that actually says he doesn't need to interact with the malodorous media unless asked by the BCCI.

Fletcher is therefore answerable only to those who pay him his wages. The problem is the results column that won't go away. Coaches may not score runs or take wickets but they are key components of progress, and India, the team, do not appear to be making any.

In an interview to ESPNcricinfo last year during India's tour of England, former England captain Nasser Hussain talked passionately about how Fletcher had changed the culture of English cricket and wondered how he would "take on players and make really important decisions that will really annoy a lot of people in India?" before saying, "He will view it as the right thing to do."

Hussain spoke of the two varying environments around Fletcher the coach. "The biggest difference is [that] in English cricket, he was the main man. If he said he was going to do something, we did it. [In] India, it is how much they will let him do things off his own back. That will be the decision they will have to make and he will have to make: whether he takes on people in India or not."

Eighteen months into a 24-month contract, Fletcher has annoyed no one and taken no one on. It is as if the Fletcher on the job in India is vastly removed from the Fletcher who worked with England, who was, in his old captain's words, a man who was "very stubborn, doesn't bow to the press, doesn't suffer fools gladly". In India, either age has melted down Fletcher's stubbornness or he has decided that some things and some people are worth suffering for two years.

Individual players speak of his knowledge and expertise - whether it was Virat Kohli to the Indian Express or Irfan Pathan marvelling at how his run-up had been sorted out on a recent tour of Sri Lanka. The opinion on Fletcher ranges from, "Well, he's there" to an appreciation of his "cool and calm demeanour" and his responses to players seeking cricketing tips.

Junior, fringe players, key components of transition, however, say he doesn't interact with them much, leading to a sense of overall "directionlessness". While it may not be all about making stirring speeches, in the dressing room there is much mumbling about Fletcher's shortage of "man management skills". An insider says, "You know Fletcher's ideal role in India? As a game-development in charge." Not coach.

This is again, startlingly different from England's Fletcher, who was involved, Hussain said, "in a lot of the behind the scenes. If anyone needed reprimanding and having a quiet word, Duncan used to do a lot of that. […] Fletcher plays the bad cop, I play the good cop, and then we swap around. But the captain-coach relationship is absolutely vital. You both must be singing from the same hymn sheet."

It is where Fletcher's dynamic with Dhoni is important. The common note on their hymn sheet before the England tour was to send out a request to the selectors picking the India A team for England's first warm-up match - no spinners in there, thanks.

Yes, Fletcher's hands are tied, his powers are limited, and his authority is undermined. Yet he would have known this before he took the job. Coaches may not score runs or take wickets but they are key components of progress, and India do not appear to be making any

Beyond that, their equations appear at best, amorphous. "It's a bit vague," says one player, "Dhoni gets along with Duncan, respects him and all that. But the lines are clear. Dhoni has a final say in the XI and controls tactics on the field, but otherwise, off the field, he's hands off." It becomes the coach's job to take a team from disaster to recovery.

Dhoni's detachment and calmness have long been celebrated. In the light of 8-0, though, this calmness appears to have become far too much of a distance from the internal workings of his own team and his coach. Fletcher for his part respects the team hierarchy. The players believe, however, that when needed, their coach will not play the free-speaking messenger between the team and the captain - not even in private.

The air around Dhoni and Fletcher contains far too much "calm". The dressing room that follows them is now static. Twelve months from now, no number of Test victories at home will change India's course on their next round of away tours, unless some hustle returns to the dressing room.

It could be that Fletcher finds himself in this predicament because of the new arm's-length mantra adopted by recent Indian coaches. On Time Out, Dravid says he prefers the opposite method, "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 think a coach should be more involved in the selection process… You want to give people powers and you want to hold them accountable, especially when you have senior, knowledgeable people like Duncan."

The arm's-length business started with Kirsten, who successfully circumvented the Indian selection maze and the demands of its domestic cricket. He coached the teams he was given, and India got to the No. 1 Test ranking and won the World Cup. For Fletcher, managing transition in India would require getting his hands dirty and doing what he did with England - being involved in selection, taking people on, as Hussain said, annoying them.

It is said Fletcher had indicated to the BCCI that he preferred not to be involved in the pointy end of coaching - selections, domestic cricket. The new selection panel says quite openly, though, that it wants him in selection meetings and to go to first-class games. It is not in his contract, though.

There is talk within the board of "bold moves" should the series against England and Pakistan go badly. (Which, in all honesty, they are not expected to.) In theory, though, England, who made Fletcher's reputation as a coach, could undo it in India. Ultimately, says one official, Fletcher's fate, "is only in one man's hand. It is the president who will take the final call."

Either way, any call around the Teflon Twins is better taken now rather than six months later, when Fletcher's contract runs out, with seven months left for the tour to South Africa. But that will mean cracking the cocoon.

With additional inputs from Amol Karhadkar, Sidharth Monga and Abhishek Purohit

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Sharda Ugra

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

I think Duncan Fletcher could easily be the most ineffective coach we had in recent times. He realized after what happened to Greg Chappelll the best way was the Gary Kirsten mode of least resistance and he also did not have the media on his back as was the case with some of the others. While he did not rock the boat, he certainly has done far too little. At least Greg Chappell groomed certain youngsters like Raina. What has Fletcher done? I think it has been an "old boys "network - someone recommends someone else and the seniors just want someone who will not hassle them too much and fletcher fits the bill. Success be damned. Ideally we should get some one like Moody perhaps who knows some of the Indian players and conditions and can yet deliver. who knows the ways of BCCI ??? Ramanujam Sridhar

Posted by Natx on (November 15, 2012, 3:21 GMT)

India has been a batting team for ages. Why the hell they get coaches that are batters? Wright, Kirsten, Chappell. Not sure where to put fletcher as he hasn't played significant test cricket. It's time to fire this guy and get a coach who knows something about fast bowling - Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, McGrath, Shaun Pollock. That way they can help to shape the likes of Umesh Yadav, Varuna Aaron, and Ishant (who doesn't seem to have learnt anything even after playing so many tests). Zaheer is done and probably have a year or two left before hanging his boots. Time to look ahead and get a coach who can help India learn the key thing to at least compete (forget winning!) in Eng, Aus, SA.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 14, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

@Kiwirocker: Since when did Pakistanis start to call the UAE as 'neutral? Don't even get me started on that topic buddy. Did you hear Tony Greig mentioning on commentary how he thought it was "indeed Pakistan at home" in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah !!! Man, your people are EVERYWHERE in the UAE. They even outnumber the Indian supporters 2:1. How come you come here on Cricinfo and say such a thing ? Defies my logic. Also, you speak with ignorance towards India. India ARE a wonderful cricket team with so many successes in multiple formats of the game. They have just had 1 bad year. Every team goes through it. Before Pakistan's recent victories, they too went through a bad patch. Don't even get me started on SL who have struggled overseas just as any Asian team. Plus, they have NEVER won a single test match in India. Every team has it's ups and downs. It's clear you are ONLY here to talk negativity about India.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 14, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Quite simply, Fletcher has learned from the mistakes of Greg Chappell. Don't ruffle any feathers in India. Don't touch the super stars of Indian cricket, otherwise you would go the Chappell way. Let the Stars play - people in India don't care if they win or lose - they want to see their favorite superstar play.

Posted by muski on (November 14, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

From your point Sharda of Fletcher not annoying any one and not taking one any one, one thing is clear- he has come here for his 2 years to make half a million bucks and go home and retire- nothing else. The other day, one of the Jumping Jacks of the current Indian team was saying he liked the Batting Style of Fletcher.That speaks volumes of what Fletcher was supposed to do and what he is actually conveying to the blokes around. BCCI with loads of money is not utterly concerned with million bucks being wasted for nothing. Do you think Duncan will be spending sleepless nights thinking what is going to happen in the couple of Home series which are round the corner-he must be thinking whats cooking for Christmas!!!

Posted by stormy16 on (November 14, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

This raises a very pertinent issue of foreign coach in Asian culture. In Asia players and administrators are bigger than the game while in Eng/Aus no one is bigger than the game. This results in two very different styles of managing and its a real challenge for coaches trying to fit in. If you look at Bangladesh and SL have gone through a few coaches in the last few years mainly because the 'marrying' part didnt work well. Fletcher in my opinion has 'tonned' down his style to ensure it doesnt end up in a Chappel like scenario. I think its a wise way to go about things as opposed to constant confrontations with players and/or administrators. If India want the real Fletcher then the administrators must be hands off but that can never happen - not yet anyway - but its the way forward for all Asian administrators.

Posted by CricketMaan on (November 14, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

I wonder who will coach Indian team beyond Fletcher, assuming his contract is not renewed (i doubt). In India there aren't any notable names albiet Ganguly favoured by many fans, but then Dada will demand more thanwhat Flecther did with England. Dada will demand to be included in selections, have more powers than the captain and take on BCCI. That does not bode well for him does it? He was recently removed from the Technical Commitiee post just because he was outspoken and criticized BCCI in public. So Dada as coach is ruled out. Maybe Fleming unless he is promised a pay that he cannot refuse as he claims he is happy coaching in IPL for 2 months. John can come back but he knows too much about Indian cricket so could go against him. A Warnie or Hussain can be a bold choice but wont happen. Guess we might have WV Raman or Amre or even Robin Singh as next coach!! Id say not bad as a Coach anyway is mute and in the background in Indian cricket.

Posted by AdityaMookerjee on (November 14, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

He seems to be a coach, who is leaving the team to play on the field. It seems, very much so, his coaching team, want the Cricket team to play, and the people watching not to feel he is influencing. This was so evident, when he was the England coach. It seems, players wanted him to take a stand, and he felt that he shouldn't on certain matters, and the players should leave it to themselves. This is perhaps, why he is India coach.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

Flether's style is hands on innovative - ideas flying everywhere - in the nets, at the end of the bowlers run up. Real "in your face" coaching. India made it clear with the last two they sacked that that is the opposite of what would be tolerated (I use that phrase after some thought) So why on earth they picked Fletcher? I have no idea. India just need to pick someone they can easily sack as a sacrificial lamb after they lose overseas tours. Someone who sits in the background and is not tolerated to interfere with trifles like "ideas" and "techniques" lest he upset the finely tuned brilliance of "Indias world class batting line up" a line up with egos the size of small continents. If I was Fletch - I'd take the money and sit tight...which is exactly what he seems to be doing. It's about what India deserve after their recent disgraceful treatment coaching staff.

Posted by sony_sr on (November 14, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

So you want another greg chappel instead of duncun fletcher? 0-8 whitewash is purely coz of the inability of 11 players and fletcher doesn't have anything to do with it. coach is not expected to make bradmans out of rainas. a raina can only be a better raina not bradman. there is a limit to which coaches can do.

indias overseas results has been pathetic rite from the day they started playing test cricket. there was a small period of change when india had the one of the best batting lineups of all time. now that all those players have faded with age, india will continue to struggle overseas. there is nothing strange in it.

this overseas struggle will continue unless some dramatic changes happens to domestic cricket and it raises to the quality levels of aus/sa domestic cricket.

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (November 14, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

Its very well written article. Very refreshing to see from an Indian journalist. India's selection of Fletcher was flawed. India has been an orindary team that has been made to look extra ordinary. Lets look at it objectively: India lost last series in Pakistan 2006, India drew last series in SL, India lost last series in England 4-0, India lost last series in Australia 4-0, India drew in SA. Indian fans were lulled into fantacy world because of flawed ICC ranking system. India sure did won a world cup but that was in India, player with special cricket balls in special sized cricket grounds with the special blessings of DRS. Likes of other subcontinent teams Pakistan and SL have been in semi finals and finals of WC's on regular basis. Pakistan has recently thrashed England in UAE on a nutral venue and even won in English backyard. I am not sure why India was ever made to look so good because results do not really justify all the hype around India! India's bench strength is zero!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

indian team was doing really well before fletcher got here india had managed to draw series in south africa, won in new zealand, westindies,srilanka,beat australia in odi series in 2008 and end their 21 test winning record gary kirsten was hell of a coach

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 14, 2012, 1:44 GMT)

Dravid , ganguly are bad for coaching even they want it , it will be disaster. Knowledge one thing , can they lead people ? I think ganguly famous for all politics. Dravid captained team had lots of politics. Only Dhoni team under kirsten had united front as every one work for same goal. I am not sure any indian can be impartial. They all support their region players. It is main reason BCCI try to avoid picking indian coach. I think duncan fletcher is done. They finish him off when his contract ends. They won't extend. He has n't proven one thing. Not single player improved. 8-0 loss in test , 20/20 world cup early exit. Bad team selections. I am not sure coach is there only to collect his pay cheque.

Posted by cric_follower on (November 13, 2012, 23:23 GMT)

That is why we need an Indian head coach with a foreign support staff. Get Rahul as coach. He is well respected.

Posted by S.N.Singh on (November 13, 2012, 22:18 GMT)


Posted by cloudmess on (November 13, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

I've just felt all along that Fletcher wasn't the right man for this job. He was a great coach in his day, with a gift for getting the best out of mediocre sides (Zimabwe in 1980s, England in early 2000s), but that was then. Aside from his age, his recent autobiography revealed a man no longer able to see anyone else's point of view. India were world-beaters in early 2011, and needed someone younger and fresher to take them on to the next level. Quite where Fletcher fitted into this, I have no idea. The fearless India who chased down a stiff world cup final total just 18 months ago, seemed to disappear overnight. "Safety first" seems to have been the mantra, and it has all been defensive batting, containing fields and medium-paced orthodoxy ever since - with disastrous results.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (November 13, 2012, 21:02 GMT)

A thought-provoking piece, Sharda. From the beginning, it was clear to anyone who'd studied Duncan Fletcher's MO that India had two choices: buy into it & do it his way, or not. DF doesn't do half - and blow me down - that's precisely what India required him to do! On the field, MSD; off it, DF. Half on the pitch & beyond the boundary rope, the other half. Like a side-by-side marriage. Each doing his/her own thing. DF wants (OK, wanted -- it's getting late in the day) to see his strategy implemented on the field (the tactics can be down to the capt) if he doesn't, then expect him to sit back, not laughing inwardly, but resigned & perhaps hurt & baffled. They hire me, then they don't give me the structure to complete the job & Dhoni, whilst polite, goes off & does his own thing. Why am I here? He might well ask. DF was at his most effective with Nasser Hussain & then Michael Vaughan. They engaged with him & worked in harmony. Oil & water, DF & MSD. Who appointed DF? Need we ask?

Posted by usernames on (November 13, 2012, 19:07 GMT)

@Chinmay Bhide--I don't know what you guys mean by "mojo". Care to explain, please? Somehow, till a captain is winning, he has all the "mojo", soon as he starts losing--with the same tactics, mind you--he loses his mojo. How is it just the captain's fault when (a) your top order fails, (b) your middle order fails, (c) your bowling is inept, and (d) your fielding is lethargic? Make Mike Brearley the captain for all you want, it won't improve the results overseas.

Posted by US_Indian on (November 13, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

continued from my earlier post- Fletcher was never a good choice what if Kirsten recommended him. He need not bother, anyway he is getting paid half a million dollars in 2 years with all benefits, what else you need. After this he is going to go to another place or may be retire. We should end this infatuation with foreigners, we have indians ( try Abid Ali-a successful coach) who can understand the language, Psyche and who are passionate and who want to give something back to the game and country, provided they are given a chance and a free hand without interference. Few things need to be changed in the entire nation as far as cricket is concerned- Board should have professionals with a vision and/ or players who have good knowledge of the game and who want to transform the knowledge not these fat corporate bugs who suck the blood. Selection should be based purely on merits no quota system, no prejudice, no political or corporate influence and the mantra should be "Perform or Perish".

Posted by US_Indian on (November 13, 2012, 17:48 GMT)

In India guys like Chappel get a flak because they show the mirror and no one likes to see their ugly faces as an old women does not want to see the wrinkles..period. As per the indian culture we are " tatte uthane waale chahiye in english which means lick the asses of the bosses" and we expect the same, we have done all our lives and anyone who deviates gets nailed. If Wright or Kirsten succeeded, it is not because they were coaches extraordinaire or kalyug ke avtaar, when they took the reins BCCI had a point to prove amidst the chaos, there were many youngsters who were keen to prove their points like Saurav, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan and brand new comers like Kaif, Yuvraj, Irfan etc along with veterans Kumble and Sachin and none were superstars or behaved like superstars so it was in the mutual interest of the board, coach and players to work hard, listen, act to the benefit of the team, now money and superstar status has taken deep roots, they care a damn. continued

Posted by BlueLightning on (November 13, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

Sharda Ugra, You're articles are good. But please shorten it. Its longer than an Indian Test innings abroad :)

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 14:49 GMT)

well after all we have won test series and odi series against nz with duncan fletcher as a coach... while there may be a debate about where did that old fletcher go who took england to the top at least i can say that he is unlucky in the sense he came in when all cricketers were mentally and physically fatigued...gary kirsten was certainly a lucky coach in the sense that he retired at the right time...he decided to spend some quality time with his family and retired after wc...i have no doubt in my mind at all that things were so bad in eng and aus that had kirsten been our coach in that series his resume would have looked bad with 2 whitewashes which unluckily will appear now against fletcher's name...

Posted by Harshtmm on (November 13, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

Correction, he didn't take England to top, he gave them looser mentality. Same thing he is giving the Indians right now.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

too many Cooks spoil the broth. Thats why we only have one. And plenty of Saffers too! Indian team is like the England football team, all the gear but no idea.... Kohli is like Ferdinand. Gerrard like Tendulkar Sehwag like Lampard Dhoni like Cole... Could go on, but its the malaise that mismanaged ego's who have a fantastically exploded opinion of themselves...

Posted by ianbellfan on (November 13, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

Fletcher is a smart man.After all, he designed the computer systems of his country's road transport department. He is doing just about enough to earn his pay. Why not introduce a variable pay to his package? With that in place, we will see a different Fletcher. Fletcher knows what happened to Chappell and must surely be aware of how Wright and Kirsten handled their job - being the good, kind grandfatherly kind of men. He knows he cannot he cannot even handle Kohli with a tough stance, if need be, let alone all the superstars of the team. I am sure he will not seek an extension of his contract knowing what lies ahead in the next two years - a slew of overseas tours. I pity the next guy in line. He is gong to cop all the blame for the ineptitude of our team.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

the main reason for 8-0 is not fletcher but MSD who has lost his mojo after the world cup...every captain comes with a shelf life and dhoni is long due to be changed ....the people who say that captaincy candidates are no where ...I ask them why not give chance to the young and dynamic virat kohli just like South africa did with graeme smith in 2003 after the WC

Posted by Selassie-I on (November 13, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

I have read widley, from many sources about how good a coach fletcher is. However maybe he has been constrained too much by board, captain and players. If Dhoni does whatever he wants during game time, the selectors pick the team, realistically what can he do? I can imagine that Sachin, Sehwag etc. don't really take to kindly to coaching in the nets.. then have his arms been tied and he's just given up, thought i'll suck it in for a bit and cash in the paychecks? or has he just gone there for the money?

Or is this all part of a Fletcher master plan?

Posted by mcsdl on (November 13, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

Indian players are ordinary. It dosent matter who the coach is they will keep getting hammerred away from home... Saying that they will do well at home.. Indian team is one dimensional. Aslong as the wicket is flat and ball comes easily to the bat they will do well. When the ball starts to bounce and swing Indians are worse than Bangladesh for that matter...!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 13, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

@ icfa who in indian cricket does care about the cricket? the fans who fill the stadia for T20 and leave it empty for tests, the administrators - seriously? the players - the ones who do care are made scapegoats when things go wrong - think dravid and ganguly losing their captaincies, how times was vvs dropped throughout his career, can you tell me who in india isn't out to make an easy buck?

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

For the first time I can remember in my life I feel apathetic about the upcomming test wife came home and said I've got a wonderful surprise for you...5 days at Kolkata staying in a 4 star hotel to go and watch the test..we live in Oman.I said forget it..I don't want it..there's a general malaise in the Indian camp..Dhoni looks like he doesn't want to captain anymore, Tendulkar is on the verge of retirement, the two openers are immune from getting dropped, Zahir looks like he can't stop eating, Fletcher either can't or isn't bothered about changing things and the stubborn BCCI don't know which direction to move in..they're stuck in first gear..Normally I'm confident about India winning at home but I have great doubts even against a side who can't play spin..I hope India surprise me but after the England and Australia debacle, I'm not holding out too much..still they dropped the useless Raina!

Posted by Rahul_78 on (November 13, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

Fletchers never seem like a wise selection to begin with. With his reputation build as England cricket coach those qualities were not what needed in Indian cricket. With a team packed with super stars who never needed to be told what to do out in the middle, a massively powerful board and a semi god captain on hand Fletcher seem to have withdrawn in to his shell. It is clearly a MSD's team. And Fletcher seems to be towing MSD and Srinivasan line. Thats why it is bit unfair to blame Fletcher for the 8-0 debacle overseas. India sent almost the same team which did well their in prior tours but just that its War horses had became old in Sachin, VVS and Dravids case and others were terribly out of form in Gambhir and Sehwags case. Add to that a disinterested and detached captain in MSD and Indias fate was sealed. Selectors under Srikanth did no favor to Duncan either as not a single inspired young selection was done. All in all the blame likes with everyone. Cant pin point one party for it.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

According to my knowledge as of now dhoni's captaincy and his tatics hide the coach Performance...No coach will get the praise untill the MSD Leave Indian cricket Team ...Like kirsten..I think fletcher shud continue As Indian coach.He may not doing well but he not done anyting poor except one english tour india faced in last summer..He knows foreign condition as much than Other Indian Coachers ....Great DF

Posted by buntyj on (November 13, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

unfair to ask this question. it's well known that in india the coach's role is ornamental with no power and to be a fall guy if necessary if things go wrong; they get paid well for that role; our seniors believe they know all and can learn nothing new. so whats a coach to do?

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

Dear Duncan Fletcher pls go out frm the team we indians dont wont MSD to be Muhammed-bin-thuglak he is confused nowadays so pls DF Get away frm the team

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 13, 2012, 7:43 GMT)

Continued.. I think none of these coaches put pressure on bowlers because they know they will be out in no time. India can't produce fast bowlers , atlest BCCI is not intention of finding prospects and train them in MRF pace foundation. Why do i see short guys gets trained in bowling?. I think you start with good base , find tall young kids and train them. I would n't believe if someone say india can't find 20 tall kids out of 1 billion people. I think no one cares. Its feudal cricket society. They find people within their circles and ignore all other people exists until someone challenge them. Everyone have idea , we need to find people who can implement the idea. Scouting system like MLB is great idea which BCCI should follow for finding fast bowlers in india. Until that solved DUNCAN fletcher has to be out. if you can't produce results you can't make free easy money. That can not be allowed.

Posted by xrocks on (November 13, 2012, 7:41 GMT)

Fletcher is enjoying his post retirement life with an amazing pension. No one seems to question him. After the home series against Eng and Aus let's see how he fares. Even if he fails, ly a few voices ll b heard and ya IPL ll be around the corner then and everything will be out of memory.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 13, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

Before duncan fletcher , there was greg chappell. I was greg chappell fan because he was honest in what he said. I really thought he can change indian cricket. But india as a country slow to change and adopt to new theories. There is absolutely no difference between greg and duncan fletcher. On advise of kirsten , duncan do not get involved that much like greg chappell. Issue is results. Both are brainy theorist with loads of knowledge but they created politics in the team. They made people fear of their job. That is not the way things work in india. When india rely on batting to win games , you do not put pressure on them too much. Same mistake greg chappell did. They want to make players play better than what they are. Intention is may be good but application is 100% wrong. Same kirsten could able to make sehwag play like freak but duncan and greg chappel made him throw away his wicket. So i think what india need is father figure coach who can cajole indian superstars ego.

Posted by jasmine.son on (November 13, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

"There is talk within the board of "bold moves" should the series against England and Pakistan go badly. (Which, in all honesty, they are not expected to.)" Against Pakistan too? Ahem ahem:)

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 7:07 GMT)

All these foreign coaches, except may two - Gary and Wright, come to India only to earn money, and in the case of Aussies, to spy and spoil the rhythm of Indian players.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

It's all about results - and that is a difficult thing to predict - or at least there are many factors -England went fro world beaters, - at least in their eyes to mediocrity - same man in charge. The only thing you can say for sure about Fletchers reign is that he will meet with all the frustrations that every Indian coach has met. To be coach of a successful Indian team must be a terrible strain - it really can't be much worse to be a coach of a mediocre Indian team

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

get rid of him and hire tom moody

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 6:04 GMT)

First of all, coach can't change things much, he can try to an extent, but not much. It boils down to the sportsmen themselves. And when the country is India & esp Indian cricket team, it gets more difficult. Its nigh impossible to handle the massive egos that Indian cricketers have, even if he is a great coach, he can show good results only if given rein of Indian colts, i.e. Under-21 or 19, where he has lot to teach & share to willing minds & bodies. If you're talking about his past performance, he was given lot of freedom within the England setup. When the board is short-sighted & money-hungry like BCCI & players are arrogant enough to say that we should prepare dust-bowls just for the sake of winning, even best coaches, a cricketing equivalent of Alex Fergusson won't help. If we go on to lose next two home series (which is not far-fetched, unless they prepare something like Mumbai 2004) he would the first to get the chop. Poor old fella. His retirement will be safe though.

Posted by vatsap on (November 13, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

The job of the Indian coach has become such a pain. Too many egos and superstars. Can any team go forward with the same impunity where the openers fail consistently, middle order muddle continues based on flashiness rather than performance, a big mouth spinner gets recalled way past his prime without any performance, fast bowlers don't get mentored/maintained properly. Fletcher has done well to keep quiet, for the hungry media wolves to twist his actual opinions. How can any forceful coach in India be successful ?

Posted by crick_sucks on (November 13, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

seriously DF is a waste of space. He is here to earn some quick money before his retrirement. He just doesnt care about the job on hands.

Posted by NomDePlume on (November 13, 2012, 4:09 GMT)

I think Fletcher is going to retire when his contract ends middle of next year. So, why annoy people now?

Posted by   on (November 13, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

i think the experience of Greg Chappell has scared any foreign coach off getting too involved.. The above recommendations are exactly what should happen, but as we saw with the Ganguly Saga, we Indians will have a cry in the first instance of an unpopular decision. There is no point blaming a coach with the system like the BCCI has built up

Posted by Htc-Android on (November 13, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

no matter who becomes the coach, its hard to improve the standards of this ordinary team. I feel bad for fletcher. he is a great coach. he always gets the blame, despite the fact that he is coaching a minnow team like india.

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email Feedback Print
Sharda UgraClose

    A year of triumph and disaster

Martin Crowe: Misbah, McCullum, and the ICC's efforts against chucking were the positive highlights in a year that ended with the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death

    Two fortresses called Brisbane and Centurion

Numbers Game: Australia haven't lost at the Gabba since 1988, while South Africa have a 14-2 record in Centurion

Zimbabwe's decade of hurt

The Cricket Monthly: Ten years ago 15 white Zimbabwean cricketers went on strike. The game has not been the same since
Download the app: for iPads | for Android tablets

    'Lara v McGrath was a great battle of our generation'

Dravid and Manjrekar discuss Brian Lara's adaptability

Would Brearley have picked Cook as captain?

Nicholas Hogg: Cook lacks certain qualities the ex-England captain listed as those fitting of an ideal leader, in particular, charisma

News | Features Last 7 days

The perfect Test

After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.

Kohli attains batting nirvana

Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat

Australia in good hands under proactive Smith

The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game

What ails Rohit and Watson?

Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena

Karn struggles to stay afloat

The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be

News | Features Last 7 days

    BCCI's argument against DRS not 100% (164)

    Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough

    Karn struggles to stay afloat (114)

    The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be

    Kohli attains batting nirvana (110)

    Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat

    When defeat isn't depressing (57)

    After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test

    What ails Rohit and Watson? (50)

    Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena