Duncan Fletcher likely to retain the crease

Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group

Duncan Fletcher’s unprecedented success with India winning the Tri-nation series in West Indies has settled the debate over foreign coach vs Indian coach at least for now. This means that the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are unlikely to get the coveted job of Team India coach any time soon. While the success of the young cricket team has laid the foundation for India to retain the ICC World Cup title in 2015, continuity of Fletcher and the team is unlikely to be questioned.

Fletcher’s extended run will also continue the drought of local coaches for Team India for about 15 years. The last Indian to coach the national side was Kapil Dev who quit in October 2000. However, Ravi Shastri temporarily coached the team for a month-long Bangladesh tour in 2007. Interestingly, if Zimbabwean Fletcher continues his tenure till March 2015, he will become the second longest served foreign coach of India after John Wright.

A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study of records of Indian coaches over their foreign counterparts reveals that the latter have an upper hand. According to the analysis, whilst the winning per cent average of Indian coaches in Tests stand at 25.41, foreigners have a winning average of 42.35 in the longer format of the game. More so, in One Day Internationals (ODIs) 53.07 is the winning per cent average of Indian coaches and 57.11 is of foreign based coaches.

India has won 18 of the total 62 Tests played with local coaches. On the other hand, out of 127 Tests played under foreigners, India has clinched victory in 54 games. Moreover, India has emerged winner in 126 out of 263 ODI matches played under local coaches and 192 out of 339 under foreign coaches.

A study of foreign coaches’ record during their stint with Team India finds former South African opener, Gary Kirsten on the top followed by Fletcher. During Kirsten’s tenure India won 48.48 per cent of their Test matches followed by 41.66 per cent with Fletcher so far. With John Wright and Greg Chappell India registered victory in 40.38 per cent and 38.89 per cent matches respectively.

Similarly, in ODI’s Fletcher’s performance stands below Kirsten but is above his other foreign counterparts. During Kristen’s three-year stint as team’s coach, India won 59 out of 93 ODIs and thus registering a winning percent age of 63.44. Fletcher, Wright and Chappell followed with 61.11 per cent, 52.31 per cent and 51.61 per cent respectively. Fletcher was appointed after the Indian team`s historic victory at the 2011 World Cup.

Interestingly, at a time India is giving a long run to foreign coaches, many cricket playing countries are relying on locals to coach their national sides. With Darren Lehmann recently replaced South Africa’s Mickey Arthur as coach of Australian cricket team five out of nine cricket playing nations other than India have local coach.

Presently, Australia, West Indies, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe have a local coach for their national cricket teams. On the contrary India with other sub-continent teams including Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have appointed a foreigner for the job. England is the only non-Asian cricketing country to have a foreign coach.

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