Home > Features >

Time running out for Duncan Fletcher as coach of the Indian team

Time running out for Duncan Fletcher as coach of the Indian team

India has won just one Test and lost eight under Duncan Fletcher’s (right) tenure as coach. However, he enjoy the support and confidence of captain MS Dhoni (left) © Getty Images

Eighteen months ago, when Duncan Fletcher was appointed as the coach of the Indian cricket team, he was expected to fill a huge void created by the exit of Gary Kirsten. The latter had set such high standards for himself, as well as the team; to emulate that would require an enormous effort. Nevertheless, Fletcher had the reputation of transforming even mediocre sides into formidable units, and it was expected that he’d nonchalantly fit into the shoes. Moreover, the Indians were newly-crowned World Cup champions when Fletcher took over, and all that was expected of him was to keep the momentum going.

 

India, under Fletcher’s reign, began cautiously. After the World Cup triumph, India’s first away tour was against the West Indies, where they won the Tests 1-0 and the One-Day International (ODI) series 3-2. A better performance was expected, but considering the fact that a few key players weren’t available, it was a noteworthy effort.

 

Then began the downward slide; India were whitewashed in England and Australia — eight consecutive away Tests losses. The only consolation was a victory over West Indies at home. Nonetheless, only superficial changes were made and the head honchos decided to wait for things to sort themselves out.

 

The decline was evident even in the ODI arena, notwithstanding wins at home against England and West Indies. The World Champions crashed out of the Asia Cup following a loss to a relatively weaker Bangladesh side. Such was the slump that India couldn’t guard itself away from home.

 

The table below reveals India’s performance overseas in all formats of the game under Fletcher’s reign:

 

Format

Played

Won

Lost

Win Percentage

Test

11

1

8

9.09%

ODI

20

8

10

40%

T20

6

3

3

50%

 

 

The decline is appalling, since a similar unit under Kirsten’s tenure registered Win Percentages of 42.85, 58.53 and 50, respectively, in Tests, ODIs and T20s overseas.

 

Fletcher has done a commendable thing by not hogging the limelight as a coach, but is this tight-lipped approach really helping? Kirsten wasn’t a man of many words either, but the fact that he was constantly at work behind the scenes was well known. Most importantly, the results on the field reflected that. However, the same cannot be said about Fletcher. Nevertheless, he’s got the backing of the current players and that cannot be discounted. Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni too has often been optimistic of Fletcher. “He’s a great guy to have. It’s not like he has become the coach and we have lost two series and he’s to be blamed for all the defeats, it’s up to the 11 players to go out and perform,” Dhoni said post the Australian debacle.

 

However, there is the other side too. A few former cricketers never recommended Fletcher’s appointment as coach right from the very beginning. Sunil Gavaskar reckoned an Indian coach would do a better job, whereas Kapil Dev went one step ahead and said, “Who is Duncan Fletcher? I don’t remember much of him as a player. I would like to see (Venkatesh) Prasad and Robin (Singh) as coaches of the Indian team. Not because they are Indians but because they did a great job at the T20 World Cup in 2007.” If anything, their opinions on Fletcher would’ve only gotten stronger now. Former Australian cricketer Marcus North too stated in his column that Fletcher has managed to undo all of Kirsten’s hard work.

 

The upcoming series against England will be yet another litmus test for Fletcher, and albeit there are lesser chances of things going haywire since India is playing at home, a below-par performance will only result in voices against him gaining in momentum. Also, it’s important to note that Fletcher was appointed as coach during April 2011 with a two-year contract, and hence there is not enough time left to turn things around. Thus far, the ship has been heading in the opposite direction, and it remains to be seen if Fletcher can play his part henceforth and finally deliver. The series against England should offer some clues.

 

(Karthik Parimal, a Correspondent with CricketCountry, is a cricket aficionado and a worshipper of the game. He idolises Steve Waugh and can give up anything, absolutely anything, just to watch a Kumar Sangakkara cover drive. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/karthik_parimal)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Ahmed Shehzad set to return for ODIs; Sohaib Maqsood ruled out

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Moeen Ali: Would love to open for England again

Sourav Ganguly: I don’t see any change in captaincy till World Cup

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

South Africa may lose momentum ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

PSN, 2K, and Windows Live hack claims by DerpTrolling are reportedly a hoax

5 smart tricks to make your grocery shopping healthy

Nitish Kumar asks JD(U) workers to foil BJP ‘divide and rule’ policy

Mulayam Singh Yadav cuts 75-ft cake at grand birthday bash

How many calories do bananas have?

Selfie stick listed in Time magazine’s best inventions list

Zee TV launches it’s newest show Satrangi Sasural!

NGOs pursue education for all

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here