x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

India appoint Duncan Fletcher as new coach

The BCCI confirms the former England coach as the replacement for Gary Kirsten, who led the country to World Cup glory earlier this month.

Duncan Fletcher carries a wealth of experience coaching in international cricket.
Duncan Fletcher carries a wealth of experience coaching in international cricket.

Duncan Fletcher will return to the site of a number of his former glories when he leads India to England for his first official assignment as India’s new head coach.

The former England head coach was handed a two-year deal after he was confirmed as the choice of the Board of Control for Cricket in India to replace Gary Kirsten.

Fletcher is said to have benefited from a recommendation from the previous incumbent, Kirsten, who capped a highly-successful three year spell at the helm with World Cup victory in Mumbai at the start of this month.

The former South African opener was a protege of Fletcher’s while still at university in Cape Town, then later in first-class cricket.

In his most recent column in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, ahead of the World Cup final, Fletcher made a detailed assessment of what it takes to coach in India.

“I thought he would make a good coach, even if the India job was a hell of a one to take on when he had so little experience,” he wrote of Kirsten.

If experience is a prerequisite of coaching India, it is something Fletcher has plenty of. After enjoying success with a relatively unfashionable county side, Glamorgan, he was made England’s head coach in 1999.

In his eight-year spell at the helm, he enjoyed some triumphs on the field, most notably when England won back the Ashes for the first time in 18 years in 2005.

However, he endured a terse relationship with the media in the UK, and many have questioned his ability to cope with a voracious press following in India.

“Duncan will work well with all the talent,” Michael Vaughan, who captained England during that 2005 success, wrote on Twitter.

“His biggest challenge will come from the media. He has never really understood how it works.”

However, Fletcher’s abilities on the training field have been widely lauded. “He knows his cricket inside out and I think he will do a very good job,” Geoff Miller, the England selector, told Sky Sports.

His main rivals for the position had been Stephen Fleming, the former New Zealand captain, and Andy Flower, the England team director.

The England and Wales Cricket Board moved to secure the services of Flower, Fletcher’s Zimbabwean compatriot, by offering him a new three-year deal last week.

Eric Simons, the bowling coach, will reprise the relationship he had with Fletcher when they were in harness together at Western Province, after having his stay in India extended yesterday.