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)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Ind vs Aus: Dhoni analyses the 4-wicket loss at Brisbane

Live Cricket Score Ranji Trophy 2014-15, Round 3, Day 2 — All matches: Yuvraj Singh scores 2nd century in his 2nd Ranji game this season

Shahid Afridi, please do not take the innocence away from cricket

India vs Australia 2014: Visitors would do well to back aggression up with performances

South Africa vs West Indies 2014-15: Is Jason Holder a captain or a stooge?

Can Eoin Morgan change England’s limited-overs fortunes?

Australia India Interviews Moments in history Ricky Ponting

West Indies tour of South Africa 2014-15: Denesh Ramdin says Windies can’t be written off

Kenroy Peters to replace Kemar Roach in West Indies Test squad for South Africa tour

Quinton de Kock in doubt for ICC World Cup 2015

Sachin Tendulkar announced as ICC World Cup 2015 brand ambassador

India vs Australia 2014-15: Joe Burns’ father did not believe selection news

ICC World Cup 2015: Will India’s trend of performing against expectations continue?

Moin Khan: Pakistan must carry momentum in ICC World Cup 2015

West Indies tour of South Africa 2014-15: One-sided encounters may suck interest out of series

India tour of Australia 2014-15: Can Australia make it 12 wins in a row at home?

Surrey throw away wickets to win against Nottinghamshire

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

683 Posts | 6 Fans

Mitchell Johnson's 37 wickets against England in Ashes 2013-14

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here