Duncan Fletcher’s induction into the high-profile role of India’s national cricket coach was expected to start at the national selection panel meeting on Friday.
However, it began a day earlier as the coach-to-be interacted with some key personalities in Indian cricket here on Thursday, on the eve of the team selection for the tour of the West Indies.
Fletcher, who checked into a Chennai hotel late on Wednesday, met with India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was staying in the same hotel along with his Chennai Super Kings teammates, for a “good hour or so”, according to an insider.
It was also learnt that the Cape Town resident who is now a British citizen also spent some time with chief selector K Srikkanth and bowling coach Eric Simons, who will be the interim coach in the West Indies.
Simons, no stranger to Fletcher, was also in Chennai as he is the Delhi Daredevils’ bowling coach. The former South Africa international and India bowling coach too will attend the selection meeting. “Now that they have shared some of their ideas with each other, there would hardly be any feeling of uneasiness during the selection committee meeting,” the insider, preferring anonymity, said. Fletcher would be formally introduced to the rest of the selectors before the selection.
Parthiv a certainty
The selectors have made up their mind to include Parthiv Patel as the back-up wicketkeeper for at least the limited overs leg. The Gujarat captain, who was a squad member during last year’s home series against New Zealand and in South Africa earlier this year, will be selected in anticipation of Dhoni opting “a short break” during the first leg of the tour, which comprises a lone Twenty20 International and five ODIs starting from June 4.
Parthiv’s selection will mean there will be no room for a third spinner for ODIs, unless the selectors decide to name 16 players. However, don’t be surprised if Ambati Rayudu and Rahul Sharma — the two prolific IPL performers — are selected only for the T20.