Head coach of the Indian cricket team, Zimbabwe-born Duncan Fletcher, has been given sufficient hints, during a conference call early on Tuesday, by top Indian cricket board officials that his services are no longer valued and he is free to resign. Rahul Dravid, the former India skipper, is being pursued to take up the role of team mentor in the near future.
An official, who participated in the deliberation to appoint former all-rounder Ravi Shastri as the director of the Indian cricket team, told The Indian Express on Wednesday that the ‘Board of Control for Cricket in India expected Fletcher to resign after the England tour’, which also includes five One-dayers and one T20 International.
Bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney, both rested according to the BCCI statement on Tuesday, are likely to be sacked once they submit their respective reports about the 1-3 loss to England.
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Fletcher’s role has already been undermined after the reins of the Indian team was handed over to the newly-appointed director, Shastri, for the ODIs. But the influence of the 65-year-old coach, who came with the reputation for being a sound judge when it came to batting techniques, is likely to be further undermined as the BCCI is in talks with Dravid.
The former India skipper and No.3 batsman was the first choice, even ahead of Shastri, but he cited prior professional and personal commitments as a reason for not taking up a position with the Indian team at short notice.
“Fletcher himself has to decide what his future will be. He is a professional and we are paying him a good amount. So it is natural to expect big results from him. We don’t doubt his cricketing knowledge but we need someone who can also communicate well with the boys and also motivate them to become mentally tougher. We have options when it comes to appointing new coaching staff. Enough feelers have been sent to Fletcher in the last meeting and the BCCI will be expecting him to resign after England tour,” the official said.
If Dravid takes up the role of mentor, he is likely to be with the team till the 50-over World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand in February-March next year.
“Dravid is attached to the Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming Champions League. However, we have big plans for Rahul. We want him to be the permanent mentor of the Indian team. He understands these players like nobody else and the players respect him also. We will ask him to take up the role during the home series against West Indies and also when the team travels to Australia for the Test series,” the official added.
Incidentally, Dravid took up a brief role as mentor of the Indian team ahead of the first Test versus England at Trent Bridge while Sunil Gavaskar has on more than one occasion asked the BCCI to make Dravid the Indian coach.
When it comes to Penney and Dawes, who were replaced by assistant coaches Sanjay Bangar and Bharat Arun, the BCCI has decided to terminate their contracts that run till the World Cup.
“What we have learnt is that Penney, Dawes and Fletcher have been in a comfort zone and there is an impression within the team that they are not doing enough,” the official added.