It’s four years since Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co suffered a 0-4 shellacking at the hands of hosts England, who clinched the Pataudi Trophy Test series in emphatic style in Old Blighty.
India were unable to exact revenge when Alastair Cook’s Englishmen toured India in 2012-13, when India lost the series 1-2. So, Dhoni’s team are not favourites in any shape or form despite having a coach (Duncan Fletcher) who coached England successfully and contributed in breaking Australia’s 18-year domination over the Ashes in 2005.
Coaches cannot be blamed too much because, after all, they don’t score runs and take wickets, but they do contribute in strategising. Now, Fletcher has just not been able to witness Test match success overseas, and critics feel India are back to where they were in the pre-Sourav Ganguly era.
Fletcher will be a marked man in England, and the knives will be out if India don’t hold their own against Cook’s men. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) cannot be tolerant for too long, because performing well overseas is the hallmark of a good team.
The BCCI can help Fletcher by roping in a local expert to help the team while they face the toughest of conditions in England, where the ball swings remarkably and getting runs is far more difficult than piling up huge totals at home.
Fletcher’s supporters will be quick to say that he has good knowledge of English conditions. But, he no longer views things closely out there. The Indian team need inputs from a man, apart from the chief coach, who has latest information on pitches and opposition players.
This is not unprecedented, as India utilised the services of former England paceman Frank Tyson for the 2003-04 Brisbane Test in Australia, as well as Aussie Bruce Reid for the Test series. And history tells us that Ganguly’s men drew that series 1-1 against the World No 1 side. Some food for thought here.