Duncan Fletcher named Team India coach

Zeecric Bureau

Mumbai: Former Zimbabwe captain and England coach, Duncan Fletcher was on Wednesday named Team India coach after the BCCI meeting in Mumbai. He would take over the team’s top job from the upcoming West Indies tour in June.

The decision to appoint Fletcher, whose name was doing the rounds as a possible successor to Kirsten, was taken at the BCCI`s working committee meeting. The announcement came as a surprise as the BCCI had given no indication that it would name the coach today itself.

"The contract with Fletcher is for two years. He may not join the team in the West Indies as he has some prior commitments," BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan told reporters after the meeting.

Fletcher, who captained Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup and played just six one-dayers during the African nation`s pre-Test days, had mixed fortunes as coach for England.

Fletcher has played six ODIs for Zimbabwe and he has been awarded a contract of two years by the Indian board. Fletcher led England to 2005 Ashes victory, his most prized achievement to date. He was England coach from 1999 to 2007 and made the English team into a competitive outfit.

The Indian team’s post for head coach had been vacant since World Cup winning mentor Gary Kirsten refused an extension with his contract with BCCI citing personal reasons. Filling in the boots of Kirsten would be a huge task for the 62 year old Fletcher.

Fletcher was the first foreigner to coach England`s cricket team, a stint that had its share of highs and lows.

Known to be a strict task-master, Fletcher guided England to eight straight Test wins during his stint.

The biggest moment for him came in 2005 when England upstaged a star-studded Australian team to win the Ashes for the first time since 1987.

The Zimbabwean was honoured by Britain`s Royalty with an OBE before England`s form slid and his position came under the scanner.

England managed to draw series in India and Pakistan but the 0-5 whitewash in the 2006-07 Ashes series in Australia led to widespread criticism of Fletcher, who refused to step down at that stage.

But England`s early exit from the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies ended any chances of him holding on to the post and he put in his papers.

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