|Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Calcutta/Bristol: A day before the start of the one-day series, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has made it clear that Duncan Fletcher is still the boss and will lead the team into the World Cup.
The Team India coach’s role had been under threat after Ravi Shastri was appointed team director following the debacle in the Test series in England. As per the new arrangement, Fletcher, in effect, would be reporting to the former India captain.
But on Sunday, Dhoni set to rest all speculation. “He (Fletcher) will lead us into the 2015 World Cup,” said Dhoni at the media conference.
“Also he is still the boss. We have Ravi who will look into everything, but Fletcher is the boss. It’s not as if his powers or his position have been curtailed.
“I don’t know what you feel from the outside, but operations still remain the same. We have a few other support staff coming into the dressing room, but overall the operation remains the same.”
It was first reported by The Telegraph that the BCCI hadn’t taken Fletcher into confidence when it decided to do away with bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney. Fletcher probably felt he should have been allowed to explain the support staff’s position. He was reportedly cut up with major developments taking place while a tour was on.
Dhoni welcomed Shastri, but refused to say if he had been consulted before the changes were made.
“Ravi is here to oversee the operations from the outside, what he feels and everything else. It’s good to have him. He is a very proud (former) Indian cricketer, and at the same time, very positive. He believes a lot in fighting and having the right instincts, going over and giving his hundred per cent.
“It is obviously good to have him. He also speaks the same language and can interact a lot with the players. Same is the case with other support staff so it is good to have them here,” said Dhoni.
Asked if he was happy with the timing of the changes, Dhoni said: “It’s a bit tough on Trevor and Joe, especially when fielders drop catches and the fielding coach has to miss the series. But let’s hope for the best.
“We are welcoming the new guys because that is very important. They will be part of the dressing-room family as of now. We will have to give them some time to adjust on how we operate, and see what kind of inputs they bring to the table.”
Dhoni’s comments are sure to stir a hornet’s nest. Has the captain put the BCCI in a fix or somebody within the Board has prompted him to come out in the open?
Dhoni also stressed that the change in format will certainly help reigning ODI world champions India to bounce back after the Test loss.
“There is no need to remind anyone that we are world champions. England are quite an intelligent side. Not to forget when we last came here, we won the Champions Trophy. We have had the success.
“It’s just that we have to stand up and take responsibility, back each other. Those things will in turn take us forward. It will change the tough times we have had to successful times,” said Dhoni.
“Our preparation has been really good. Whatever days we got we have used them in the best possible way. The psyche also changes with the format. If you see you are under pressure to survive in Test cricket...
“If you get out playing a shot, there is uproar as to how Test cricket is different and how can you get out playing such a shot. That also creates pressure. This format is about expressing yourself and you spend some time on the wicket, and then you have to play big shots.”
For India, there are still question marks about Rohit Sharma opening with Shikhar Dhawan as this combination hasn’t worked in South Africa and New Zealand in the past.
“He (Rohit) has been a good opener. Wait and watch. Let there be some excitement about tomorrow’s playing XI too.”