Former India stumper Farokh Engineer wants coach Duncan Fletcher to be sacked and Ravi Shastri and Dilip Vengsarkar given charge of the India team.
India were drubbed 1-3 in the Tests against England after the visitors had taken a 1-0 lead by winning the second Test at Lord’s. As voices calling for Fletcher and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s resignation grew louder, the BCCI appointed Shastri as team director and India thrashed England in the one-day series.
“Ravi has done extremely well. He has motivated the boys, he is a dynamic character. In fact, he should oversee all cricket,” said Engineer after inaugurating Cricket Club of India’s indoor academy.
“I think along with Ravi, you should have someone like Dilip Vengsarkar. They have both played together. They both know the game inside out,” said Engineer, who is based in England.
Asked if Vengsarkar should replace Fletcher, Engineer said, “Vengsarkar should have replaced him ages ago. I am not against Fletcher and I don’t even know him. I am only criticising his glum nature. I have not seen him bring the best out of the boys. I have not seen him pro-active as such. He is an aloof person as far as I am concerned. You need someone boisterous to make the boys believe in themselves.”
“Another thing I have against him is when we lose a Test match, he (Fletcher) will never face the flak. He will never face the media. It is Dhoni who has got to face the flak and Duncan Fletcher will sit behind his sunshades in the dressing room,” Engineer, who retired in 1975, said.
“For me, a manager has to come forward and defend the boys. I have not seen him do that. He might be a nice man and a fatherly figure but we are talking about the Indian coach earning a huge sum of money,” he said.
Engineer said he was surprised by Shastri’s comment on Fletcher being a fatherly figure and a solid character. “(I was) A little surprised. Ravi has always spoken his mind. He must have seen something in Fletcher that obviously I haven’t. I have talked to at least 20 of the old, established Test cricketers and not one of them gives him even one out 10,” Engineer said.
‘Fan of Dhoni’
Engineer felt that Fletcher who knew the English wickets well could have advised Dhoni on whether to bat or field after winning the toss.
“I am a huge Dhoni fan. He reminds me of my young days. But I would criticise him for the T20 where he should have taken the single and given strike to Ambati Rayudu. He wasn’t batting with No 11.”