Duncan Fletcher has been headhunted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to become their new national coach. Fletcher was called by his predecessor in the job, Gary Kirsten, during the recent World Cup and told that the board was interested in employing him as a replacement and that he would not have to interview for a role that has been tailored to suit his skills. When Fletcher flew there for negotiations shortly after the tournament, he found that a contract was ready and waiting for him to sign.
Fletcher has been employed to work as a head coach, not a manager. He will not act as a team selector and he will be working alongside a team manager who will be in charge of disciplinary matters.
A clause has also been included in his contract stating that he will not necessarily have to talk to reporters in an official capacity or attend press conferences, though it gives him the option of doing so if he wants to. Given how fractious and distracting his relations with the press became in England — media-management was not one of his strong-points — he saw this as another sign that he would be allowed to get on with what he is good at.
During his eight years in charge of England, Fletcher took control of almost every aspect of the team's management, to the point where he was even helping to arrange and rearrange flights for his support staff. By the end of his days in the post he felt that this wider workload was distracting him from his strengths, which he sees as man-management and technical analysis of his own players and the opposition. The BCCI has designed a job in which he will concentrate almost entirely on those aspects. England, Fletcher felt, became too big a ship for him to keep control of.
Fletcher, 62, had been in the running for the vacant post as head coach of South Africa but was persuaded to take this one on a two-year contract because he did not want to go through a protracted interview process, and the BCCI had drawn up a clear and appealing job description with his skills in mind.
Fletcher had been something of a mentor to Kirsten during his two years in charge of India. The two will meet next week to swap notes on those experiences. Before that Fletcher will speak to N Srinivasan, secretary of the BCCI, to discuss how best to make a formal introduction to the Indian media.