CA, Aus media getting paranoid about Duncan Fletcher

Canberra: India coach Duncan Fletcher has made both local media and Cricket Australia set-up paranoid ahead of the four-match Test series starting on December 26.

While Fletcher`s technical expertise has forced Australian coach Mickey Arthur to order a three-day camp for his batsmen, the local media sees his remotely operated hand behind the suggestion on Monday that Indians were close to abandoning the three-day fixture against CA Chairman`s XI here and move to Melbourne.

Fletcher has termed Australian captain Michael Clarke as a "nicker" for his tendency to reach out to drive outside his off-stump and Arthur has no doubt he would have done similar assessment on his other batsmen.

"He`s a fantastic technician. He will try to unpick the Australian players` techniques, he is very good at that, and he will present a team that`s very well prepared," said Arthur.

Arthur believes that Fletcher would plot a swing-led attack against his batsmen and hence he wants them to be fully prepared for what lies ahead in the four-match Test series.

The local media similarly went to town about the suggestion from a Canberra groundsman on Monday that Fletcher could have been behind the alleged Indian move to leave Canberra for Melbourne in order to avoid the falling rain in Australian capital.

Fletcher was the England coach when Australian were beaten in that historic Ashes series of 2005.

He found himself embroiled in more than one controversy with the Australians.

His mischievous wink at Ricky Ponting from the balcony at Trent Bridge after the batsman was run out by substitute fielder Gary Pratt saw the then Australian skipper go ballast at the English dressing room.

During the 2009 Ashes series, Fletcher wrote a newspaper column lashing out at Ponting over Australian concerns regarding perceived gamesmanship from the hosts in the closing minutes of a thrilling draw in Cardiff.

Fletcher and Arthur themselves fell out during the 2006 Champions Trophy in India over access to nets for their respective sides of England and South Africa.

Interestingly, they also worked together for the South African team, leading up to the World Cup this year.

"We had a little bit of a falling out in India many years ago, but since he came back and worked with me, we have become very good mates," Arthur was quoted as saying in a newspaper.

"He`s tough and uncompromising and he won`t expect anything less. I guess Duncan doesn`t trust easily which is why he is a little bit abrasive with the media at times, but I have the utmost respect for him," Arthur added.

"His focus is definitely going to be resilience. He is tough and he doesn`t allow his players to get complacent."

Arthur, a South African and the first foreign coach for Australia, himself is said to be a good technician with marvellous skills in man-management.

He is already being given credit by the latest Australian batting sensation David Warner for improving his batting technique.

"I don`t think many people would have noticed this at all, but in the second innings in the (Hobart) Test I actually changed my stance," Warner said on Sydney radio.

"My stance was a bit closer than it normally is. Mickey Arthur actually just made note to me before that saying I think that you should move your stance closer together. It allows me to put my weight going forward," said Warner.


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