Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Shastri backs Fletcher, calls him a ‘father figure’, ‘solid character’


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New Delhi: Former India cricket captain and now team director Ravi Shastri has backed beleaguered coach Duncan Fletcher saying the Zimbabwean was like a ‘fatherly figure’ who is a ‘solid character’ and ‘hugely respected’.
Shastri’s comments Tuesday came at a time when he is expected to submit a report on Fletcher’s performance that would be taken up by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at its working committee meeting slated for Sep 26.
“He (Fletcher) is tremendous. He would have done over a 100 Tests as coach, which is massive. He is technically very sound. He is a solid character. He is respected. He is a fatherly figure. I knew Fletcher from the 1983 World Cup. Then in 1984 I led an India Under-25 side to Zimbabwe, where he was my counterpart. So I was aware of his leadership qualities already. Also what made Fletcher’s job easier was having the trio of Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R. Sridhar as his assistant coaches,” Shastri was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.com.
Shastri was appointed the team director after the Indian team’s humiliating 1-3 loss in the Test series in England triggering rumours that Fletcher could be on his way out. Shastri’s presence did a world of good as the team bounced back in style to beat England by a similar margin in the ODIs.
Shastri maintained that Fletcher is the coach while his job involves “handling of various things including little, little stuff”.
“Fletcher is the coach: he looks after the handling of various things including little, little stuff. My experience comes into play from the outside – of having been there, done that. The fact that I watch so much is a massive help. And my personality is such if I feel like saying something I don’t hold back. I don’t care who it is,” said the former all-rounder.
Asked about his report on Fletcher, Shastri said: “Let the media say what they (media) want. I have told you what I thought of Fletcher. I will go back and speak with the BCCI.”
Besides roping in Shastri, the BCCI replaced Joe Dawes (bowling coach) and Trevor Penney (fielding coach) with Sanjay Bangar as batting coach and Bharat Arun as bowling coach. R. Sridhar was also appointed as a fielding coach.
It was seen as a move to clip Fletcher’s wings since both Dawes and Penney were handpicked by him.
Shastri said the Indian coaches have been brilliant.
“The three coaches have been brilliant. Have you seen fielding like that in the Twenty20 at Edgbaston from India? We lost by three runs, but if we had not fielded the way we did, they would have gone over 200 runs. That was the biggest positive – the Indians were like tigers on the field. You field well and that is half the battle in limited-overs cricket,” he said.
Shastri also said that he would discuss with the BCCI on giving the assistant coaches a longer run with the team.
“All three of them have done an excellent job in the short period they have been given. I have to go back and sit with the BCCI to discuss what will happen in the long term,” he said.(IANS)


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