Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fletcher for Stability, not Rebuild

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Duncan Fletcher has been appointed India's coach for two years. His credentials are noteworthy. He took a terrible English team instilled team spirit and self-belief. He made them contenders. If anything, he was coach for too long and that reflected in England's spectacular 5-0 whitewash in his swansong.

My impression of Fletcher is that he is a turnaround specialist. This is at odds with India's current position in world cricket. John Wright turned India around and Gary Kirsten took it to new heights. This is the first Indian team that is ranked number one and deserves it.

This team is likely to stay the same with one or two exceptions over the next two years. With the exception of Dravid, the team will likely remain stable. After that time, it's hard to tell if VVS, Sachin and Zaheer will continue to hold on in the team team. Fletcher is an excellent talent-spotter. It could well be that it was this talent of Fletcher's that got him the nod.

The Chappell experience has shown that this Indian team is not deferential to old men the way the previous generation would have been. Fletcher will have to earn the respect of a team that had a huge amount of that for both Wright and Kirsten. Some of these team members have played against Fletcher's teams in the past and will have formed opinions about him.

In the larger context, his appointment seems to be a safe one rather than a forward looking one. It seems to be one of stabilize and consolidate, rather than energize and inspire. His stint will start in England and that's going to be some homecoming.

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