India skipper MS Dhoni’s declaration in Bristol that coach Duncan Fletcher would lead the team into next year’s World Cup has not gone down too well back home with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Along with coming down strong only Dhoni’s statement, where he also claimed on the eve of the first ODI that Fletcher ‘is still the boss’, the Indian board also tried to reinforce their status quo in terms of making high-profile
“Dhoni can’t decide who should be coach. BCCI will decide it,” a top BCCI official told The Indian Express, “At the same time, we also want to add that it is the selection committee that will decide the coach and captain for the World Cup.”
While Fletcher’s contract runs up to the World Cup, his place at the helm of the Indian team’s affairs has come under intense scrutiny of late after former India captain Ravi Shastri was appointed as Director of Cricket for the limited-overs leg of the England tour. But speaking at the pre-match press conference on Sunday, Dhoni also insisted that the incumbent coach’s powers had not been ‘curtailed’ and that he still remained the leader. This despite the BCCI having reiterated that the man calling the shots within the Indian dressing-room was no longer Fletcher, but Shastri.
“Definitely he will lead us into the World Cup,” Dhoni said in Bristol about Fletcher before adding, “Also he is still the boss. We have Ravi (Shastri) who will look into everything, but Duncan Fletcher is the boss. It’s not as if his powers or his position have been curtailed. I don’t know what you feel from the outside, but still operations remain the same. We have a few other support staff, who come into the dressing room, but overall the operation remains the same.”
The BCCI official though revealed that Dhoni and Fletcher had been given enough feelers about the new make-up of the Indian support staff-that also welcomed Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar-during a teleconference that was held in the late hours of August 18. This discussion had come about in the aftermath of the Test series that saw India lose 3-1, with the last two matches lasting less than three full days.
REPORTING TO SHASTRI
Shastri too had indicated in many interviews over the last few days that he had assumed full control over the team’s affairs. In one interview after taking charge, he had said that he was the boss and that everyone would report to him.
Fletcher’s future had come under further doubt after this paper had reported that the BCCI was likely to retain Shastri as the chief decision-maker for the team right up to the quadrennial, scheduled to be held in February-March of next year.
What has irked the board further is that Dhoni decided to make a statement on Fletcher’s future despite being the BCCI giving enough indication that the incumbent coach’s role was under the scanner, and thus revealing that the Indian captain and Indian board weren’t on the same page for once. And it’s left the officials fuming.
“Dhoni never likes people who question him. Shastri is a no-nonsense man, and he will intervene. We all know Fletcher never questioned Dhoni. Dhoni knows everything and still he has made such a statement which is surprising,” the official added