Birmingham: England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower owe their success to India coach Duncan Fletcher, who must take some credit for laying the foundation of the team`s resurgence to the top of the Test world.
While Fletcher might be immensely disappointed at India`s pathetic performance in the three Tests but the former Zimbabwe captain can feel happy about the team that he once coached for eight years 1999-2007, during which they won the Ashes in 2005.
Appointed shortly after England were briefly ranked as the worst Test team in the world in 1999, Fletcher first formed a bond with Nasser Hussain that toughened England up. With Michael Vaughan, Fletcher advanced the skills of the English team to beat the great Australian team in the 2005 Ashes.
Most of Fletcher`s key mantras: fitness, fielding, strong lower-order batting, bowling above 85mph and the ability to reverse-swing the ball, are still evident and proved key in England`s domination over India in the current series.
According to a UK daily, Fletcher was appointed as England coach when the newly formed England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was going through radical modernisation under Ian Charter MacLaurin.
One of those changes was giving out central contracts to players and Fletcher had faced a horrible task in implementing those contracts. The central contracts played a crucial role in England`s re-emergence as a Test nation.
Fletcher was also stern with the counties on the release of players for national duty. Before he took over, counties would release players at their will. But Fletcher told them sternly that they could not have their players when they wanted, even when England were not playing.