Does Duncan deserve more?



I’m not sure how many people joined me in raising their eyebrows when Duncan Fletcher was appointed by the BCCI to succeed Gary Kirsten as the coach of the Indian Cricket Team. I’m sure there would have been quite a few though. For all the high standards Gary had set, one would have expected his successor to be of the same level, if not higher. If I remember correctly, Stephen Fleming was the other worthy candidate who was in contention for the post.

Fletcher for another year?

Fleming vs. Duncan

In my opinion, Fleming would have won the battle any day. The man has a cool Kirsten-like-demeanour, which is quite necessary, especially when you are facing the Indian media after losing eight consecutive Test matches. He has also worked wonders with Dhoni for their IPL franchise. So there is bound to be good captain-coach coziness, which again is essential if MS Dhoni is your captain. And ironically, Fleming’s positives were Fletcher’s negatives. During his tenure as the coach of England Fletcher had problems with the English media – I don’t think he realized that their Indian counterparts are much worse. And in that same tenure, he is also believed to have had occasional spats with Michael Vaughan. Let’s not talk about the comparison with Dhoni.

 

Fleming was always going to be the perfect choice. But surprise, surprise! The BCCI had a trick up their sleeve – or atleast that’s what it seemed like. Fletcher got the job. The rest is history. India lost everything they had to savour on the cricket field. Surprisingly, the team-bashers (or more specifically the Dhoni-bashers) have a soft corner for Duncan. And it’s not just them, it’s the BCCI too. On 15th March, the BCCI decided to extend Fletcher’s contract by one hear. Completely unexpected. The reason given was that the younger players have a lot of respect for him. More like the granddad kind of respect? We don’t know. Here is a man who doesn’t laugh, doesn’t talk and doesn’t win matches. How did he manage to keep his place? Surely Gary Kirsten himself would have liked to have a better successor, if not a more inspiring one.

India needs another coach like Gary Kirsten. An active one, who inspires the team, instills confidence and of course, one who laughs a bit. No offence! But the BCCI needs to take some stern actions with respect to coaching staff. If not to the heights of the Australian coach, atleast someone half as stubborn would do for now.

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