Fletcher, a scapegoat

Fletcher, a scapegoat

Making scapegoats is an old Indian way of saving one’s own skin and the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India appears to have perfected this art.

In the aftermath of India’s humiliating 3-1 loss in Tests against England, the richest cricket board in the world, amid harsh criticism from every conceivable corner, has decided to send two from the support staff – fielding coach Trevor Penny and bowling coach Joe Dawes – on a “break”.

It has recruited two former Indian cricketers – Sanjay Bangar and Bharat Arun – as assistants to head coach Duncan Fletcher whose authority itself has been undermined by the appointment of former India captain Ravi Shastri as the Team Director.

The measures, intended at assuaging the anger among the fans, has already come under fire from many quarters, with former Indian captain Rahul Dravid pointing out that such mid-series changes only make life harder for the players.

It is obvious from the scoreline and the manner of defeats that Dhoni and his men have been found wanting in their responsibilities. The Board, instead of taking measures to arrest the slide, has targeted Fletcher when it should have been looking at a new captain to shape the fortunes of the national team.

But cricketing logic and BCCI have never travelled hand in hand. Short-sightedness has been its hallmark. And, in a way, it serves the Board’s purpose. If it had thought of long-term goals, no one would have said there was no alternative to Dhoni, who has presided over India’s plunging fortunes as a Test nation away from home in the last three years or so.


What if Dhoni gets injured tomorrow? Won’t they appoint someone in his place from the available list of players, however ‘incapable’ he may seem?

Responsibility should be clearly laid. Blaming someone will not do. It is not correct to pin the blame on Fletcher. Instead of the captain, who is to be held responsible along with his team-mates for India's consistent shambolic performances, the coach has been made a convenient victim.

Captain and the team and even the selectors will have to take the blame for the debacle. That’s where the crux of the problem lies, not in Fletcher. Neither the selectors and nor the BCCI have shown the courage of conviction or the foresight to replace an under-performing captain.

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