All eyes on coach Fletcher

PTI

Duncan Fletcher’s enormous reputation is on the line and he should not be averse to the idea of cracking the whip in order to get some results. After all, the coach does get the blame when the team loses whether it is his fault or not.

The Champions League T20 is no doubt providing some exciting cricket besides serving as a platform for some unknown players to make a mark. But the timing of the tournament has created a few ripples in Indian cricket. The Duleep Trophy was rescheduled to make the players realise its significance but however, it has become a lacklustre affair, with the cream of the players away, playing in the CLT20 in South Africa. Of course, there is no option for the Indian players but to play for the franchise teams but given the recent poor results of Team India and some of the key players in Tests, the contention that the Duleep Trophy would have been the ideal opportunity for players to prepare for the longer version of the game cannot be dismissed lightly.

The twin victories against New Zealand can hardly be considered as revival of form for either the team or the individuals and as such, better planning was required for Team India to prepare for the upcoming series against England.

The entire batting line-up, barring Virat Kohli, has been in indifferent form in the last one year and their missing the Duleep Trophy for the Champions League has not gone down well in certain quarters within the fraternity. Agreed that the players have to fulfil the commitments of the parent body, but the Fixtures Committee of the BCCI needs to factor in all these components while deciding on the dates for the Indian cricket calendar. It does seem that the follies of the Fixtures Committee have left India short-changed as the Champions League is only affecting the premier tournaments of the BCCI. Cricket Australia asking Shane Watson to return home half way through the Champions League is an indication that various aspects of Australian cricket are constantly monitored. As much as the administrators need to be clued in, it is only fair to expect the coach of the Indian team to be proactive in terms of planning for the season. It is good that Duncan Fletcher ( in pic.) has remained in the background by and large, but one wonders whether he conceptualises and/or insists on implementation of certain protocols. Let’s not forget that Team India has not produced outstanding results under Fletcher and it’s about time for something to happen in the right direction.

It does seem that Fletcher either is flowing with the tide or unable to convince the powers the need to get an airtight process in place. It does not need a genius to remind that Team India is in a transition stage and therefore, the onus is on the team management and especially the coach to chalk out a blueprint for the future. It may not be always easy to convince a system to embrace changes quickly enough but there is no harm in at least getting the message across. Greg Chappell failed in getting the message through in a manner that was perhaps endearing to the bigwigs of the team and also the BCCI, but there was never any doubt as far his intent was concerned. The ongoing season will require a lot of pluck and also firm handling from Fletcher if results have to be achieved.

Losing away from home may be viewed as a disappointment but keen followers of Team India will not settle for reverses at home. From an individual point of view, Fletcher’s enormous reputation is on the line and he should not be averse to the idea of cracking the whip in order to get some results. After all, the coach does get the blame when the team loses whether it is his fault or not. But he cannot allow himself to be blamed for the lack of effort.