Duncan Fletcher should consider himself “an extremely lucky man” for getting a one-year extension as coach of the Indian cricket team, reckoned Farokh Engineer. The United Kingdom-based Engineer closely watched how Fletcher functioned when he was England coach from 1999 to 2007.
There was intense speculation about the Zimbabwean’s future after losing 10 Tests which also included a home series against England recently. The decision to renew Fletcher’s (64) contract was taken during a working committee meeting at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters yesterday.
“He is an extremely lucky man to get an extension. It is strange he kept his job even after the whitewashes against England and Australia, and then the home series loss to Alastair Cook’s team. Maybe, some boys in the team want him,” Engineer told MiD DAY from Manchester. Before the ongoing Australia series in which the hosts are leading 2-0, India lost 10 out of 22 Test matches under Fletcher. The last away Test win came against West Indies (1-0) in 2010-11 when Fletcher took over from World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten.
The ODI results are not exactly great. Out of the 44 one-dayers, World Champions India have won 25 matches and lost 16. Two matches ended up being tied and one failed to yield a result. It can be recalled that Dhoni’s men could not qualify for the Asia Cup final in Bangladesh. India also lost the high-profile three-ODI series against Pakistan at home recently.
In the T20 Internationals, India won nine and lost eight out of 17 matches. The biggest disappointment was when the Men in Blue failed to make it to the semi-final of the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka.
Probably, a good showing against Australia may have saved Fletcher’s job. But Engineer felt Fletcher’s real test would be in South Africa later this year. “India were always going to beat this Australian side convincingly. It is a rubbish team. Only Michael Clarke is a top-class batsman in this side. Fletcher’s real test will be when his team play in South Africa,” the former India wicketkeeper said.
Legendary Sunil Gavaskar questioned Fletcher’s extension too. “I wonder whether an Indian coach would have survived after 10 Test defeats,” Gavaskar told NDTV. Engineer suggested an Indian coach is the need of the hour. “There are so many brilliant coaches in India. Why aren’t they tried out? Sourav Ganguly for instance would make a good coach. I am sure he would have done a far better job than Fletcher.