His resignation as head coach in April 2007 had some players in tears. Duncan Fletcher was going on 59 when he left the England job after more than seven years in charge. Few thought he would ever coach an international side again.
Gary Kirsten, who departed India earlier this month, and England's Andy Flower represent the new wave of coaches.
By giving the job to Fletcher, who will be 63 by the time he joins up with the team in England, the Indian board has opted for a gnarled hand to guide an experienced side that faces a tricky transitional period.
Like his predecessor, Fletcher will keep the media at a safe distance. "I know that I may have often come across to the media as dour, inscrutable, miserable and all those other adjectives they so liked to attach to me, but those were more often than not characteristics brought on by the people I was dealing with," he wrote in Behind the Shades, his autobiography.
With India, keeping the media at bay will just be part of the challenge. The itinerary is relentless and could mean as much as 10 months a year away from his Cape Town home.
He will also be subject to the whims of the board when it comes to preparation for major tours.
Most of all though, Fletcher's success or failure will depend on whether he can get players to buy into his coaching philosophy. The grey beards shouldn't have a problem, but his biggest task will be establishing a connection with the likes of Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma, players young enough to be his grandchildren.