Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Duncan Fletcher,As New Indian Cricket Coach

Sixty-two-year-old Duncan Fletcher has been appointed as the coach of India ahead of the team's tour to the West Indies.

The decision to appoint Fletcher, whose name was doing the rounds as a possible successor to outgoing coach Gary Kirsten, was taken at the BCCI's working committee meeting. The announcement came as a surprise as the BCCI had given no indication that it would name the coach on Wednesday itself.

"The contract with Fletcher is for two years. He may not join the team in the West Indies as he has some prior commitments," BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan told reporters after the meeting.

Eric Simmons, who was the bowling coach during Kirsten's tenure, will continue in the same position, Srinivasan said.

BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said the terms and conditions of Fletcher's appointment would be the same as Kirsten's.

"After a lot of thought and consultation, BCCI president and BCCI secretary placed Fletcher's name before the Working Committee, which the Committee ratified," Shukla said when asked why Fletcher was selected over other contenders.

According to BCCI sources, current England coach Andy Flower was also considered, but he was reluctant. Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming, reportedly one of the contenders, was not in the race, they said.

Fletcher, who captained Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup and played just six one-dayers during the African nation's pre-Test days, had mixed fortunes as coach for England.

The high points of his career was England's Ashes triumph over Australia in the home series of 2005, England's first series win in West Indies in 36 years and taking England to the third spot in Test rankings.

Fletcher has a tough job ahead of him as he replaces the amiable South African Kirsten, who set a high benchmark for the Indian team and completed his stint with the memorable World Cup triumph earlier this month.

With Kirsten at helm, India reached the pinnacle of Test rankings and number two in the ODI list after conjuring up memorable wins and draws in series abroad. He relinquished the job to spend more time with his family.

Fletcher was the first foreigner to coach England's cricket team, a stint that had its share of highs and lows.

Known to be a strict task-master, Fletcher guided England to eight straight Test wins during his stint.

The biggest moment for him came in 2005 when England upstaged a star-studded Australian team to win the Ashes for the first time since 1987.

The Zimbabwean was honoured with an OBE before England's form slid and his position came under the scanner.

England managed to draw series in India and Pakistan but the 5-0 whitewash in the 2006-07 Ashes series in Australia led to widespread criticism of Fletcher, who refused to step down at that stage.

But England's early exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies ended any chances of him holding on to the post and he put in his papers.

Former England opener Michael Vaughan, who took over as national captain from Nasser Hussain during Fletcher's reign, was full of praise for the 62-year-old on social networking site Twitter soon after the BCCI's announcement.

He posted: "Great coach who will work well with [India captain Mahendra Singh] Dhoni [and] all the talent."

Vaughan also sounded a warning of sorts to his former coach about the potential media frenzy that could follow his appointment, though, adding: "His biggest challenge will come from the media. He has never really understood how it works!"
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