The hardest job in world cricket

I was surprised to hear today that Duncan Fletcher has been named as India coach on a 2 year contract.

With India the number 1 test team and ODI world champions, it would seem like the dream job. But I’m not so sure and think he could be on a hiding to nothing here, this job looks full of pitfalls to me, I can already hear Geoffrey Boycott sniggering at the thought of Fletcher falling on his face here.

Despite all these misgivings, ultimately this was an offer he could never have turned down. It will probably be his last high profile job offer in cricket, and by the end of it I would imagine no one will touch him with a barge poll.

In the test arena Fletcher is going to have to oversee the end of the careers of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and probably Sachin – assuming he doesn’t go on for another 20 years.

Replacing Dravid and Laxman could take up the bulk of his 2 years. Also if he handles the Sachin issue badly, then he will obviously be out on his ear. When the time comes for Sachin, he has to be allowed to go in his own way.

It will also be interesting to see how he handles the lack of Indian seam bowlers, he is famously known for not wanting to know any bowlers in English county cricket who couldn’t bowl between 85 and 90 mph. Will he have to break his principles there?

I can see this job being the ultimate test of Fletcher’s man management skills – not only with the senior players, but the press.

In England he struggled with the press and he always struck me as a man who didn’t have much in the way of man mangement skills, but in fairness to him I have listened to Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan a lot and they both speak very highly of him.

On the whole Fletcher did a good job with England, but it will be interesting to see if the Indian players buy into his ways. The BCCI know that this is going to be a transitional period for Indian cricket and there is a cynical part of me that thinks they may well have been looking for a potential fall guy.

Good luck Dunc, I think you’re going to need it.

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6 thoughts on “The hardest job in world cricket

  1. Personally, I’m not too excited about this….I just don’t see him fitting into the present Indian dressing room…but the people in the know (Kirsten, Vaughan, Hussain) all think he will do a fine job…So will just have to wait and see…I’m predicting something similar to a Greg Chappell fallout!
    btw, whats the story on Boycott-Fletcher?

  2. Where do I start Tracer?

    Basically Boycott is a bit outspoken with his views in the English media and Fletcher took exception to criticism of him when he was England coach.

    I heard Jonathan Agnew say on Test Match Special that he had once advised Boycott to ring Fletcher at home to have a chat and clear up some misunderstandings.

    Apparently when Boycott did this, Fletcher tore him to pieces on the phone.

    When Fletcher wrote his book, all this came out in it. Boycott responded by writing an acticle in which he called Fletcher a sour hypocrite. As far as I know the two of them don’t speak anymore.

    I don’t know if you remember when Fletcher brought his book out – I have never read it – but from the extracts I did read it was just Fletcher having a go at anyone who crossed him when he worked as England coach. He came across as quite bitter really.

    The common line doing the rounds now is that ‘there may well have to be another few chapters wrote once he is finished in India.’

  3. Tracer, there is this view of him, that he is an uncompromising, awkward, stubborn git with no man management skills, that is the image we got of him rightly or wrongly, during his time as England coach.

    But when you listen to Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain they give a totaly different view of him, I would imagine Ashley Giles and Marcus Trescothick would also speak very highly of him as well.

    I think that Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith – and I’d imagine a few other SA batsmen – consult him at times as well.

    If he is an impossible character, or a crap coach, I don’t think they would be doing this.

    I previously had the 1st view of him, the media led led one. But after listening to him commentating on TMS when England played in SA in 2009/10, I changed my view as he came across as an intelligent man with a sense of humour.

    I think he just put the shutters up when he was England coach and gave off the wrong vibes, but then from the other side, the book speaks for itself.

    So in short, I don’t know how he will turn out – as he is a hard man to read.

    I’d say that he needs to get the players onside early on, or I’d imagine he will be history fairly quickly. As I can well believe player power is quite prominent in this current side with some of the big names.

  4. hmm…honestly, I don’t care if he has a frosty relationship with the media…if he can get the players to maintain their performance, thats more than enough for me…
    already, Swann has upped the mind games, I see….good idea?

  5. Have just read it, don’t think there is anything of any massive relevance in it.

    I think it is just Swann being Swann, he’s great at talking things up.

    Personally, I hope he is focused on the upcoming Sri Lanka series at the moment, rather than bothering with the India series just yet.

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