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)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test: Australia's practice session

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Rohit Sharma gave a fantastic account of himself: Sanjay Bangar

Yuvraj Singh flays media for twisting statements on future in international cricket

India A beat Sri Lanka by 88 runs in tour match; Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Karn Sharma shine

Kevin Pietersen saga: Stuart Broad, James Anderson saddened by bullying claims

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

All-India PSU T20 Tournament: Oriental Insurance defeat HPCL

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in favour of Najam Sethi as ICC President

Justice Mudgal Committee report on IPL spot-fixing to be submitted on November 3

Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in CAB S K Acharya Memorial Challenger Trophy final

Pankaj Singh hopes for good season with Rajasthan

Highest identical scores in both innings of a Test

Younis Khan — perhaps Pakistan’s greatest batsman ever

India A vs Sri Lankans tour match: Players look to make the most of opportunities

Viv Richards: How did he perform against the West Indian quicks?

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here