Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar says it is time that Indian cricket looks to replace Duncan Fletcher and bring in someone who is young, energetic and whose ideas can galvanise players ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.
In his column for a national daily, Gavaskar trains his guns at 65-year-old Fletcher and writes that under the former Zimbabwe cricketer, the Indian players have looked extremely ordinary. “It (Indian cricket) seems to be in a freefall that looks tough to arrest,” he writes. “What Indian cricket needs right now is a younger coach who will want to be out working with the team and not looking to put his feet up at the slightest chance.”
Citing how Team India dominated world cricket under its previous coach Gary Kirsten, Gavaskar explained how the South African got the most out of the players. “Kirsten was enormously respected by the players because he had done the hard yards in both forms of the game. Kirsten knew the value of practicing to get better and under him the training sessions were competitive, productive and enjoyable,” observed Gavaskar. “Since his departure, Indian cricket has just slipped and slipped.”
Kirsten was Team India’s coach from 2008 to 2011 and helped India attain the No. 1 Test ranking and win the 2011 World Cup. Interestingly, Fletcher’s name was recommended to the Board of Control for Cricket in India by Kirsten himself. It may have been a move that undid all his previous hard work.
The Indian team has looked ordinary under Fletcher, who beat the likes of fellow Zimbabwean Andy Flower and Kiwi Stephen Fleming, to bag the top job. Overseas losses have maligned the side’s otherwise formidable reputation and despite his years of experience as a coach, Fletcher has not been able to motivate the side.
Now with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand less than a year away, Gavaskar feels Indian fans would be better off not expecting their team to defend the title. Unless of course, someone inspirational replaces Fletcher, who has played 6 ODIs and 111 first-class matches. “There will be some who will argue that changing coaches with just one year to go is not a wise move, but unless that is done Indian cricket will continue to go down.”