India coach Duncan Fletcher’s aversion to the media is well documented. Rumour has it that not interacting with the media on a regular basis was one of his conditions before taking over as India’s head coach in 2011.
With due respect to Fletcher’s desire to stay away from media conferences, it’s time for him to get out of his comfort zone and do some tough talking, just like he would want his players to go the extra mile and perform more difficult tasks — for example, scoring runs on more challenging pitches.
Sure, coaches don’t score runs, capture wickets or take catches but they are roped in by the authorities to facilitate a high level of performance and the fans would want to know what’s happening to all that input when disaster strikes, like it has in England.
By staying totally away from the tough questions, Fletcher doesn’t give absolute accountability a good name. Several cricketers have said that Fletcher is a good coach and there is little reason to doubt him, but the Test results away from home have been abysmal.
Under Fletcher’s watch, India have won only two overseas Tests in three years. One of those two victories came against a weak West Indies team in 2011. The second was at Lord’s earlier in the ongoing series.
Indeed, the BCCI has not paid heed to these results when it came to giving him a longer rope. That they are looking at the overall picture across all formats is fine, but it is wrong to keep a coach in cotton wool while other members of his support staff face the media at some point in a series.
The Zimbabwean may have had a rough time with the British press when he was England coach (1999-2007) but that was England and this is India.
It’s time Fletcher faces the microphone, unless he is as speechless as we get sometimes while watching India sink deeper in the abyss of Test cricket.
His public appearances have been too few and far between and it’s time for him to ‘score’.