The appointment of Ravi Shastri as Team Director after India's humiliating loss in the Test series in England is a clear indication that the countdown has begun for coach Duncan Fletcher's exit from the Indian dressing room
London: The Indian Board took a decision yesterday that came two years too late. They clipped the wings of chief coach Duncan Fletcher, appointing Ravi Shastri as the Team Director, and sent bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penny on a 'vacation', providing ample indication that Fletcher's days in the Indian set-up are numbered.
Also read: Newly-appointed Team Director of India Ravi Shastri can't wait to take charge
Duncan Fletcher's record with the Indian team has been patchy since he took over in 2011. Pic/Getty Images
Fletcher had managed to hang on to the hot seat despite repeated failures, thanks to the support from BCCI chief N Srinivasan and India captain MS Dhoni, but the debacle in the five-Test series against England has left him with little room to hide.
Nevertheless, by only asking the duo of Penny and Dawes 'to take a break', the Board has also indicated that it wants all bases covered before reading the riot act to Fletcher.
As far as Dawes and Penny are concerned, they are expected to quit their positions on their own accord. But if they insist on staying on, they could be asked to do duty at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore till their contract expires after the World Cup early 2015.
By appointing Shastri as director, the Board has also made it clear that Dhoni will be the one running the show in consultation with Shastri, while Fletcher will have to stick to the plans laid down by the duo. Whatever happens after the England tour is anyone's guess.
According to a source, Shastri, who has been given enormous powers, has agreed to take charge only for the ODI series.
It may be recalled that the former India all-rounder was brought in to handle the team for the Bangladesh tour after Greg Chappell's exit after the World Cup debacle in 2007 and he did a good job.
By appointing former players Sanjay Bangar and Bharat Arun as assistant coaches and R Sridhar as fielding coach, the Board has also indicated that unlike in the recent past, they will have a support staff that will comprise a mix of foreign and Indian hands.
The number of away Tests India have lost under Duncan Fletcher in 20 games
The number of Tests India lost to England when they toured India in 2012
The number of Tests India lost in a row to England and Australia between 2011-12
Fletcher's record as India coach
Duncan Fletcher took over the reins after India's victory in the 2011 World Cup. Although they have done reasonably well in the shorter formats of the game, winning the Champions Trophy and reaching the final of the World T20, India have fared poorly in overseas Tests.
Ravi Shastri's record as manager
India bowed out of the 2007 World Cup in the preliminary stage, and Ravi Shastri took over from Greg Chappell for a brief stint. Under him, India played a three-ODI series in Bangladesh and won the first two games. The third was abandoned due to rain.