The shocking slide and the missing mark of a mentor


Ranchi, (N Ananthanarayanan, Hindustan Times): It is just as well that India are making a mark as a sharp fielding unit despite repeated failings in the two key areas – batting and bowling. On Thursday, as the squad members began their first training session in the new Jharkhand State Cricket Association stadium, coach Duncan Fletcher held centrestage during an elaborate fielding drill.

He supervised sprints that involved covering short distances to pick and throw with markers placed at various points. The players then went into a more strenuous relay race from one end of the field to another. The spring in the step was apparent after winning the second ODI to square the series with the next game to be played in skipper MS Dhoni's home ground on Saturday.

The former Zimbabwe all-rounder arrived in India having built a reputation as a game changer with England, which led to their sensational Ashes victory at home in 2005 and began the transformation of the team. While that process has been astutely carried forward by his younger Zimbabwe compatriot, Andy Flower, the same has not happened with Fletcher after he succeeded the hugely popular Gary Kirsten, who took India to the World Cup win but didn’t stay on to oversee the team’s transformation.

Sought Out
Rahul Dravid was the first to seek him out during the West Indies tour, engaging in a long conversation on batting. And he was outstanding in the subsequent England tour. Since then, it has been downhill for a man who has kept away from the media despite the demand for his sacking.

Critics feel he has failed to reach out to players and point out that players have not been able to stop making the same mistakes again and again. Sachin Tendulkar has kept getting bowled, Sehwag has struggled, Raina has not been able to overcome his weakness against the short ball, Gambhir has lost confidence and is uncertain outside off-stump.

Even Virat Kohli has not been able to overcome his recent problems.

Redeeming Feature
Although the cricket board has not indicated much, Fletcher’s time with India appears numbered even if India produce a good showing in the current series as well as the home Test series against Australia starting late in February. The question no longer seems to be whether he will be able to redeem himself.
 
Former coach and selector Anshuman Gaekwad feels Fletcher has failed to communicate with the India players by overcoming the challenge of the language and cultural barriers.

“Whether it is the bowler or batsman, the same mistake is being made again and again. He should have sorted them out by now.”

But he said it may be unfair to blindly criticise Fletcher. “It is all very nice to say Fletcher is useless. But we also don’t know fully what is happening inside, whether he is being allowed to do what he should be doing,” he told HT.

“In the end, it is important that players have confidence in the coach. His main contribution has only been in planning. Now, it is up to the BCCI to think of Indian cricket’s future and see whether he will be helpful.”

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

New Zealand Cricket has put forward a proposal to reinvent its domestic structure and allow up to 49% private investment into the six major associatio… More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Day of Supreme reckoning

Day of Supreme reckoning

Apex court to decide on BCCI’s proposed new committee today. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »