The Indian cricket fan’s wish for the new year would be for the freefall of the last year- and- a- half to finally stop — and not with a thud.
Most things that could go wrong have gone wrong since the highs of the 2011 World Cup triumph.
Those that blame the rise of Twenty20s for the fall in performance in Test matches forget that this Indian team, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the helm, has failed in both these formats, with ODIs being the only format in which India have enjoyed some success in terms of a win- loss record, but not in terms of trophies.
Duncan Fletcher has proved himself to be a total failure in his tenure as coach, and the time is ripe for him to be shown the door and for a man as well respected and successful as Sourav Ganguly to be handed the job of guiding the Indian team through this tough time.
The ‘ Prince of Kolkata’ was the man who was given the charge of bringing Indian cricket out of its darkest phase — the match- fixing scandal at the turn of the millennium — and he ended up laying the foundations for the team that went on to appear in two World Cup finals in eight years and was No. 1 in Tests too.
The man himself is non- committal about whether he would want to take charge of the team, but did leave the door open for an appointment.
“ I wouldn’t say that I would not want to coach the Indian team, but currently, I haven’t given it much thought. Also, I don’t believe in thinking too far ahead. Taking things as it comes is how I like to live my life. You never know what lies in store in the future, so why think so much?” Ganguly told MAIL TODAY .
Legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi said Fletcher just didn’t have the skills to manage a team that has a star in every player, and that Ganguly would be the ideal man to take over from him.
“ I don’t understand this obsession with getting foreigners to coach our team. How can someone who isn’t an Indian understand how our system works? You have got to have someone who knows the inside — out not only Indian cricket, but also how the administration works here. Fletcher failed when it came getting the players to understand how he works and also didn’t have the influence needed to give the players a reality check. I feel that we have enough former players who can fit the bill of a coach to perfection,” he said.
Ganguly was someone who always called a spade a spade and need someone like him to take over. The guy needs to be fearless and not be worried about certain people in the board who want to run the show. Who better than him? Also, he hasn’t retired a decade ago so he is well versed with the way things work in Indian cricket. I feel he’s the perfect guy for the job.” Former selector Kirti Azad echoed Bedi’s sentiments, saying communication looked to be the biggest issue with Fletcher, something Ganguly wouldn’t have a problem with.
“ Communication is very important in the present day and age and I feel that is where Fletcher has lagged. He has hardly seemed someone who has stood there and disagreed with the skipper on any issue.
“ Sometimes it is important to disagree for the good of the team. Also, an Indian would be more suited to the job. I don’t see any reason why an Indian isn’t considered qualified enough by the BCCI. How about getting someone like Ganguly? He can be the man who can get the team out of this rut with his fresh ideas,” he said.
As for Fletcher, it does seem his days are numbered. Some of the current players recently expressed their disappointment at Fletcher’s methods to the Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI).
According to a senior BCCI official, while it is highly unlikely that the Zimbabwean will be sacked before his term ends, there is no question of his contract being renewed.
“ Well, I don’t see him being sacked, but his contract won’t be renewed after the two- year term gets over,” the official told Mail Today. And so, come April, and it could be the second coming of Dada that reignites the fire in Indian cricket.