Duncan Fletcher seems to have won himself some time to save his job. Amid strong criticism of India’s dismal run, BCCI’s top bosses — president N Srinivasan and secretary Sanjay Patel — had a meeting with the India coach in Chennai on Friday.
A tough call was expected from Srinivasan and Co over the non-performance, but Fletcher has managed to survive for the moment.
The timing of the meeting, with the rest of the team leaving for Dhaka from Mumbai for the World Twenty20, indicates the board’s concern.
Publicly though, the board defended its man. “Let me set the record straight. Duncan Fletcher has the wholehearted backing and support of BCCI. There has been no discussion on his removal. We told him we have a lot of faith in his coaching abilities and he should not be worried about anything else,” Patel told PTI.
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The India coach, though, will be very lucky to get a contract extension after his term ends in March. And Patel was noncommittal on whether Fletcher would get an extension. The BCCI’s biggest dilemma is that the World Cup is less than a year away.
Calls for a change in coaching staff have been growing. India legend Sunil Gavaskar was scathing in his criticism after the Asia Cup debacle, suggesting that Rahul Dravid would be an ideal replacement for Fletcher. Dravid, though, backed Fletcher to stay on.
“With the World Cup nearly a year away it is unlikely that India will change its coaching and support staff. You’ve got to give them four years to try and change things. With two big tours of Australia and England coming up and the World Cup after that, it is unlikely India will change its coaching staff or any part of the leadership group. I guess they will review that after the World Cup,” said Dravid.