It's a strange feeling: Fletcher

It's a strange feeling: Fletcher

Former England coach remains the centre of attention on his return

There is a sort of frenzy surrounding Duncan Fletcher in England or at least among the media personnel here. To an extent, the curiosity is understandable. After all, Fletcher was their coach not too long ago. He was responsible for their resurgence when they had hit abysmal lows. He was the one who master-minded their famous Ashes triumph at home in 2004-05.

Fletcher subsequently bowed out as England coach under not-so-pleasant circumstances, but he remains a highly respected person in this part of the world.
Now at the helm of the Indian cricket team -- the number one Test side and World Cup winners no less – the Zimbabwean returns to England to plot their downfall, though the 62-year-old admits it’s a bit of a strange feeling for him.  “If you look at it, I left about four years ago and there is a lot of change in the team. There are a few senior players (left in the side),” Fletcher said.

“It’s strange for me... I never thought I’ll be back in this role. When I left England I thought I would never get involved with cricket again. But having worked with South Africa, New Zealand and with Hampshire to some degree, I got the (coaching) bug again. It does seem a bit strange to be here again but I’ve enjoyed working with India. I had quite a good series in the West Indies and I think it’s going to be an exciting series to be involved with a top side. It’s quite a challenge,” he observed.

Asked whether the present English side was better than the one he left behind, Fletcher refused to comment. “It’s difficult to say which one is the better side and which is the best side in the world,” he noted. “If you are going to look at statistics, then India are on top. But England have improved a lot under Straussy (Andrew Strauss) and Andy (Flower). They have done a really good job of bringing their side back on track,” he offered.

Fletcher left with a mild warning that the Indian team has only become stronger after the return of some of senior players. “There are a lot of good players in this Indian side but we need to be at the top of our game,” he pointed out.

“In West Indies they were surprising without their top players, Sachin (Tendulkar) and so forth. They played on some really spicy wickets in two Tests that I have never been involved with before. They were quick, seamed and bounced... Barbados seamed around all five days and they handled that well. From our point of view, we feel we are at a good space and hopefully we can carry on with the performance we put on in England.”

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