Coach Duncan Fletcher of little help, some players tell BCCI

NEW DELHI: Following the humiliating loss to England at home, several Indian players have apparently spoken to the Indian cricket board, expressing unhappiness with coach Duncan Fletcher.

Some players, who spoke to TOI on condition of anonymity, said they had told BCCI members they were uncomfortable with Fletcher’s style of working and that he has been of little help.

However, this is still at the level of confidential discussions and has not yet taken the form of an official complaint.

A senior board official told TOI that Fletcher has indeed proved a disappointment. But he categorically denied that any players had spoken to board officials against Fletcher.

Fletcher was appointed India’s cricket coach on a two-year contract in April 2011. He came highly recommended — by his predecessor Gary Kirsten, among others – for his cricketing acumen and was expected to guide Team India through a tricky transition phase.

However, the squad has suffered one setback after another on his watch, culminating in a series loss to England at home after 28 years.

Unless there is a dramatic change in fortunes, it seems unlikely that his contract will be extended once it expires.

However, an immediate sacking of Fletcher seems unlikely. “We will have a chat with him after the Pakistan tour (in December-January) and see how things pan out. But yes, Fletcher has been disappointing,” a senior board official told TOI.

“The team meetings now lack the kind of focus and intensity which we used to have during Gary Kirsten’s days. Fletcher only told us basic things.

There were no inputs on how to contain Alistair Cook or how to play James Anderson or Panesar or Swann. Fletcher has been an England coach himself, but we got no insights into the opposition,” said one member of the team who is an integral part of India’s bowling unit.

Fletcher has also been blamed for not helping several talented youngsters sort out technical problems and make the leap to the big stage. In fact, some players argue that he actually confused a promising youngster, causing him to suffer a lean patch.

Fletcher’s inability to iron out the reasons for Rahul Dravid repeatedly getting bowled in Australia and now Sachin Tendulkar’s lean trot against New Zealand and England are also being cited against him.

“To be fair to Fletcher, he worked a lot with Dravid in Australia but could not produce results. Maybe his ideas are stale,” said another member of the team.

Ironically, just about the only team member who has steadfastly backed Fletcher is embattled skipper M S Dhoni himself.

The skipper has often said that there is only so much a coach can do. Ultimately, what matters is how the 11 players perform in the middle. But with calls mounting to split the captaincy, it remains to be seen how much Dhoni’s backing will help the coach.