Calcutta: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has called for the removal of Duncan Fletcher as the coach and has suggested Rahul Dravid as a replacement.
“What Indian cricket needs at this stage is a younger coach… For the simple reason that over the last three years now, there has hardly been an improvement in the Indian team’s performance… Hardly any individual improvement either. So I feel that if the slide has to be arrested, then you certainly need someone who is young, with the energy to galvanise it,” Gavaskar told NDTV on Monday.
“Look, the slide has to be stopped irrespective of what happens in the World T20, a championship which starts in a week’s time. I think the time has now come because if you wait till the end of the World Cup, then we will probably have the same kind of results that we’ve been having.
“I am not suggesting that by having a younger coach India will win, but certainly the attitude, the approach, the preparation will change and change for the better,” he explained.
The Telegraph had said on February 22 that if the accountability bit comes up, the coach, like the captain, should also be answerable for losses in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
“The first name that comes to my mind is Rahul Dravid because he is enormously respected. He has been one of India’s most successful skippers. He doesn’t get much credit for that. He has won a series in the West Indies, in England… He has done wonders all over… His is the name that I can think of because of the hard work that he has put in as a player.
“My message to the team management is that they have to go in with a positive outlook… You could also be a little more receptive. They have got to be a little more flexible,” Gavaskar opined.
The legendary opener came down heavily on Fletcher.
“Look, I can still understand if it is the same set of staff which helped India win the 2011 World Cup… Then you could argue, ‘well, let’s not tinker with the combination’. But now you have to do it because 11 months is a lot of time for a new man to come in and make a difference. It’s obvious that the current lot has done nothing.
“There is nothing happening with Indian cricket… Look at the guys who have been with the team. They have been dropped. Now the question is you have dropped performers… Performers like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh... Guys with terrific records.
“If you drop them for the lack of form and lack of performance, then why can’t you drop the support staff for the same reasons? If you can drop stalwarts in the team for the lack of form, how can you persist with the same set of coaches? I don’t think that’s the way to go,” Gavaskar said.
“Based on Fletcher’s performance, I would give him 1.5 out of 10 at best. I feel that he isn’t pushing the players hard enough. That is the reason why I feel a younger person is needed. The person will have the drive, will have the intensity, will want to prove that he has got the coaching credentials.
“Fletcher was an ECB reject… And yet we took him on the recommendation of Gary Kirsten. Fine… We have tried him for a year or two and nothing worked. Now is the time really for us to take a hard call. It’s going to be a tough call.
“I know only 11 months are left before the World Cup. It is not going to be difficult… But believe me, a younger man will certainly help with all the intensity… For making the boys work hard.”
He, however, made it clear that it’s not an Indian-versus-a-foreigner issue. “For me, it does not matter if it is an Indian or a foreign player… I am saying bring in a slightly younger man... Obviously, you don’t want somebody who has been with the team for three to four years.”