Having extracted our face from the dent in our desk, we did manage to catch much of today’s play, our view unobscured by tears of frustration.
What we saw was India’s bowling attack and it looks a damn sight better than it had in England. Bizarrely, the man who emerged with most credit from that tour, Praveen Kumar, is no longer on show.
Our efforts to find out where he was initially led us to believe that he’d obtained a doctorate and taken a role with the Haryana Urban Development Authority. However, it turns out he’s just been playing for Uttar Pradesh against Saurashtra, so maybe his absence is a Fletcher thing.
It’s hard to say how much influence Duncan Fletcher has over selection of Indian teams. It may be very little, but at the very least he’ll voice an opinion and for all his attributes, Praveen Kumar isn’t a Fletcher bowler. Fletch likes his fast bowlers to be just that.
Umesh Yadav is a Fletcher bowler and we’ll doubtless be seeing more of him after he took 3-23 in West Indies’ first innings. As England coach, Fletcher erred towards the workmanlike spinner, but he’s blessed with more options in India and both Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin have done enough to justify Harbhajan Singh’s exclusion. Was that another Fletcher move?
All in all, the Indian team is looking a little more adaptable and should hopefully travel a bit better. Not sure whether Yuvraj is a Fletcher player though and we’ve an inkling that Virat Kohli is.
Did you know that you can get a sense of what you should do in any given situation simply by gazing at inscrutable Guru Dunc standing motionless in his dark glasses and broad-brimmed hat?
It’s true. Check this out.
Should I have jerk chicken or takeaway pizza for tea tonight?
Jerk chicken. Thanks Guru Dunc.
Sounds wrong, but we’re going to have to get used to it.
Some believe that Fletcher got this job because of the brilliant work he did with England (and yes, overall it was brilliant), but we suspect it was more that India wanted somebody jowelly and unfriendly on their staff and it just happened to be that they had an opening as head coach. If the kit washer had retired, they’d have simply recruited someone who fitted the description in that role instead.
This could lead to a cracking chapter in the next edition of Duncan Fletcher’s crappy book.
It is if the extracts are anything to go by.
Duncan Fletcher’s book is called ‘Behind The Shades‘ – a reference to his inscrutable public appearance. Fletcher didn’t care what the media said about him and he didn’t have a lot to say to them.
Well, it turns out that he did have a lot to say and he was bottling it all up ready for a massively juvenile autobiography. We’ve always held Fletcher in high regard for what he achieved, but the extracts from this book that have been appearing in The Daily Mail seem designed to strip away any dignity he had or any respect he earned.
If we could sum up Fletcher’s words, without reference to any specific incident, it would be as follows:
- Dropping this player was wrong. You thought it was my decision, but it wasn’t.
- You said omitting this player was wrong, but it wasn’t. And even if it was wrong, it wasn’t my decision, but it wasn’t wrong and mostly it was my decision.
- So-and-so said I was a dick, but I didn’t even do anything, so who’s the dick, eh? It’s him. He’s the dick.
- So-and-so once said something critical about me, so I decided I would never speak to him again. Then I shouted at him.
- I was pretty much always right.
The overall tone is of a child being asked why they’d done something wrong and going: ‘Actually, actually, it wasn’t me, actually. Because actually…’ and then desperately reworking the facts to put themselves in a good light.
It also would appear that Fletcher thinks a discussion about selection can be dealt with by naming your preferred choice to England’s captain and chairman of selectors before walking away without another word and ignoring them when they try to call you back to actually talk about it.
We agree with him about Beefy though.
Not literally. That would be hideous. That would be really, really, world-class, title-taking hideous.
No. This is the view of Ian Botham expressed in Duncan Fletcher’s book:
“‘Get rid of all the guys like Atherton, Caddick and Tufnell,’ he [Botham] told me.
‘Why?’ I asked.
‘Because they’re too old, rather go with youth,’ he replied.
‘Who then?’ I asked.
‘Graeme Hick and Robin Smith.’
‘But hold on they are the same age,’ I replied in exasperation.
‘But they are different,’ he said.”
We love this exchange. This is classic Botham. He’s not a man blessed with clarity of thought. Great cricketer, sterling charity-worker, excremental commentator.
Ian Botham normally waits a while before contradicting himself at least.