The Heavy Ball

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Don't worry, Fletcher's got a plan

It's a good thing India have a coach who knows England's weaknesses

Alan Tyers

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A
Duncan Fletcher and Sachin Tendulkar at Lord's, July 19 2011
Duncan Fletcher takes Sachin Tendulkar aside to explain why growing sideburns is not very statesman-like © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Duncan Fletcher
Series/Tournaments: India tour of England
Teams: India

Right guys, gather round… everybody stop clapping Tendulkar. He's only poured himself a cup of tea. Yes, he has done it beautifully. But still. No need to get carried away. Why not look at Dravid there? Look at how he's put the milk in first. Absolutely textbook. Okay, fine. Never mind about him. Let's all just watch Sachin.

It has not been a great first few days. I blame myself. Actually I mainly blame the media. The jackals. But also myself.

Have we prepared thoroughly enough? Well, Laxman got to the match on time, he has all his kit, he walked out to bat when we told him. That is not insignificant. In an ideal world, maybe he would have played some cricket before the first Test, but what can you do? We are not in an ideal world. Even worse, we are in England.

I maintain that a short six-hour session listening to me talking about the forward press should be preparation enough for anybody.

Did Zaheer get himself into the proper condition for the Test matches? Again, is that for me to say? This is a vastly experienced individual; if Zaheer wants to focus on carbo-loading rather than cardio, then that is his choice. I am not here to tell these experienced professionals how to prepare, or how to bat and bowl, or field, or help them deal with questions from the media. Definitely not that. My role is to observe, to record and, if needs be, to give my views about a player 12 to 18 months later, when my book comes out. I am also here to help with tactics, and how to cope with English conditions. Like how to take care of your sunhat. This can be key.

You will notice how England put down two catches off Broad in an over. I am fairly convinced that their decision-making unit was concerned that Broad would take too many wickets, and this would interfere with his role as an enforcer. Were they attempting to manage his role by wicket-rationing? It is possible. We should keep an eye on that.

Now we face a challenge on the last day of the match, but I can reveal that I have a plan. Everybody, please give a warm welcome to the newest member of our unit: your new 12th man, Gary Pratt.

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Comments: 7 
Posted by ibbotsoni on (July 26, 2011, 4:02 GMT)

People are so critical. Unbelievable.

V funny piece :)

Posted by EastfieldCricket on (July 25, 2011, 22:46 GMT)

Good and funny. Thank you

Posted by Fifthman on (July 25, 2011, 21:38 GMT)

Ah yes; gentle piss-taking of someone (or anyone) connected with India automatically makes this piece 'unfunny'. For those who actually know of things outside India and things Indian, this is actually a wry and amusing article. Example: "if Zaheer wants to focus on carbo-loading rather than cardio, then that is his choice." Bang on the money but 'unfunny' by Indian standards, of course.

Posted by Kavum on (July 25, 2011, 19:31 GMT)

Its a bit rich alluding to Fletcher's "book" coming out when there's a link to Tyers' book at the end of this unfunny piece. If the schmarticle is aimed at marketing and is supposed to plug his book by giving us poor mugs a taste of the "humour" on offer....? So sorry. Taking a gratuitous dig at Fletch who was (and possibly still is) a pretty good coach is hardly insidiously insightful or levity-inspirationalizing as GW Bush would say. Heard that Zaltzman is delivering the 'Cricket Humour 101' course at the Bedlam Writers' Academy. Takers anyone????

Posted by   on (July 25, 2011, 14:44 GMT)

Again Alan at his best! I still miss your spycam though!

Posted by   on (July 25, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

The Pratt reference rescued this piece :P

Posted by   on (July 25, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

What a ridiculous Article

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan Tyers Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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