The Telegraph
Wednesday , August 20 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

From traumatic to the dramatic
- Shake-up: fletcher will report to Shastri

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni must be wondering whether the changes will be beneficial to the team after the disastrous campaign in the Test series

London: After a traumatic Sunday, a dramatic Tuesday.

Indeed, on and off the field, there’s plenty happening in apna cricket.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) didn’t react after the 0-4 thrashings in England and in Australia, not many summers/seasons ago, but has responded to the 1-3 Test series defeat in England.

Some, of course, may argue that changes in the middle of a tour could do more harm than good thereby turning counter-productive.

Bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney have been shown the door, while head coach Duncan Fletcher has been shown the way to the door.

It’s a hugely embarrassing situation for Fletcher, who is on contract till the 2015 World Cup. Not that it can’t be terminated.

Apparently, the BCCI didn’t take Fletcher into confidence when it decided to do away with Dawes (a poor choice in the first place) and Penney.

Fletcher probably feels he should have been allowed to explain the support staff’s position, more so because the Test squad was rather short on experience.

Consider this: While the collective experience of the India XI at The Oval stood at 319, England’s was as high as 432.

Not an excuse, but something to talk about definitely.

It couldn’t be confirmed, but a well-placed source told The Telegraph: “Fletcher is rather cut up with major developments taking place while a tour is on.”

Worse for Fletcher, his wings have been more than clipped and he’ll actually be reporting to former India captain and cricket manager Ravi Shastri.

Generally, Shastri, the go-to man for the BCCI, has been supportive of Fletcher — but wholly influenced by observing things from the outside.

It’s going to be different now.

Given the state he’s in, Fletcher can’t afford to get into a turf war. Certainly not with Shastri.

Seen as the Establishment’s man, Shastri has been named team director for the five ODIs and the one-off T20I against England.

It won’t surprise if Shastri gets a longer tenure, especially as the World Cup is less than six months away.

The appointment of a team director (Andy Flower held that position till the last Ashes) is a first for Indian cricket.

So too having a desi assistant — Sanjay Bangar — to the head coach. This, in fact, should have been done years ago.

Bangar has played for India, just like Bharat Arun, the new bowling coach.

Penney’s place has gone to Ramakrishnan Sridhar.

The attention, understandably, is on Fletcher who took over from the tour of the West Indies, in June 2011.

“If you put two and two together, you won’t get five. Not in Fletcher’s case. As things stand, it’s a question of whether he’ll go on his own or he’ll be given the letter of termination,” another well-placed source said.

Whatever, over the next few weeks, there’s bound to be some tension in the India dressing room.