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Fletcher could come a cropper with India: Swann

Last updated on: April 30, 2011 08:55 IST

'There is a hell of a lot of our team he doesn't know at all'

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India's new cricket coach Duncan Fletcher could come a cropper in his very first assignment when the team tours England this year as he might try to double guess his former wards, a lot of whom he "doesn't know at all", feels English spinner Graeme Swann.

Fletcher coached England for eight years -- from 1999 to 2007 -- and was earlier this week appointed India's coach to succeed South African Gary Kirsten.

- Meet Duncan Fletcher, Team India's new coach

Swann, who fell out with Fletcher soon after his debut in 2000, said the Zimbabwean might think he knows the entire English team very well but he hardly understands quite a few players of the side.

"Fletcher knows a few of our players better than some other coaches would," Swann told the Daily Telegraph.

"But there's a hell of a lot of our team he doesn't know at all. I think that will work to our advantage, because he might be trying to double guess us a little bit and come a cropper," he said.

Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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Swann had a fallout with Fletcher

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Swann played his first Test almost eight years after his international debut due to his erratic behaviour which led to the fallout with Fletcher.

"If I was a coach 10 years ago, I don't think I would have picked me, and I wouldn't have particularly liked me being on that tour," Swann said.

- 'Duncan Fletcher coaches very much like Kirsten'

"If you're my sort of character, you soon become quite irksome to the people around you if you're not backing your talk up on the field.

"I was just a young upstart tourist, and it was a good job I didn't play because I wasn't good enough. I'd probably have been found out and cast aside for good, and never been given my eventual second chance," he added.


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Now he'll get a chance to pit his wits against this new England side'

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Swann said whatever the result of the July series, it would be an interesting battle between the world's number one Test side and the reigning Ashes champions.

"It's nice for him to come back to England, because he's got a fine record with the England team," Swann said.

- Ban spinners who don't turn the ball: Swann

"Now he will get a chance to pit his wits against this new England side during the summer. Technically, though, I don't think it helps him much to know a few of our players, because there's so much footage available that you can work anybody out," he added.

"I think we will give India a very good run for their money, if not beat them."


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Reuters
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Good BCCI got Kirsten's replacement early: Sehwag

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However, Fletcher's appointment has found favour with Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who reckons the BCCI did the right thing by appointing Fletcher as coach soon after Gary Kirsten's departure as it has given the Zimbabwean enough time to settle with the side.

"It's good for India. It's a good thing that the BCCI has found a replacement in quick time. It will obviously help the players and the new coach to settle down early. He (Fletcher) will get enough time to do home work before our series against England starts," Sehwag said.

- India break jinx of Cup triumph by host country

Fletcher will not be able to join the Indians during next month's tour of the West Indies due to personal reasons but will be there when Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men tour England later this year.

The former Zimbabwe captain's appointment has evoked mixed reactions with some former greats including Sunil Gavaskar insisting that an Indian would have been a better choice.

Asked whether he has had any interaction with Fletcher, Sehwag merely said, "No, I don't know him."


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Right now, my focus is totally on the IPL'

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Sehwag's opening partner Gautam Gambhir, on the other hand, is not even thinking about the new coach right now as he is completely focussed on his role as Kolkata Knight Riders skipper in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

"Right now, my concentration and focus is totally on the IPL. I am not thinking about all these things. I will only think about all this once the IPL ends," he said.

- IPL-4 2011 coverage

As Kirsten's successor, Fletcher has massive expectations to live upto as the amiable South African left after taking India to their first World Cup title in 28 years besides being at the helm during some of the most memorable overseas triumphs of the team.


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Reuters
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'Fletcher is the best man for the job'

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Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels the decision of BCCI to appoint Fletcher as the chief coach of the national team is a positive one.

"After Gary Kirsten, Fletcher is the best man to be Indian team's mentor," Akram told Mobile-ESPN on Friday.

"He is very experienced and has vast knowledge. Waqar (Younis), who played in Glamorgan when Fletcher was coach, praised his coaching skills a lot."

Akram feels most Indian players are experienced enough to handle situations on their own but Fletcher still had a role to play.

"This Indian team doesn't need coaching, but Fletcher's excellent man management skills will surely help," said Akram.


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Fletcher is a neutral guy'

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Former India captains Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have spoken in favour of an Indian coach, post the Gary Kirsten era.

In his newspaper column, Gavaskar mentioned the name of Mohinder Amarnath "because most players represent the Hindi belt."

Akram says language is no barrier anymore. He feels a foreign coach is quite beneficial for the sub-continent teams simply because "he is a neutral guy."

Having worked with foreign coaches like Richard Pybus in Pakistan, Akram does understand a bit about foreign coaches and their ways.


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Fletcher in the Indian dressing room will be advantageous'

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"Our home-bred coaches have plenty of mood swings and preferences, but a foreigner will have no such things, no favorites. He just does his work, doesn't talk much with the media and remains focused on his work," explained Akram.

A former Zimbabwean international, Fletcher will take charge of Team India from the England tour which starts in July.

Akram feels Fletcher's work-experience in England will surely come in handy for Dhoni and team.

"Fletcher has done plenty of coaching in England, and he knows their players very well. Beating England at their backyard will be tough but Fletcher's presence in the Indian dressing room will be a huge advantage," feels Akram.


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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It's all about Fletcher's enthusiasm: Gilchrist

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Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist feels Duncan Fletcher's vast experience will be an advantage for the Indian team when they take on England later this year.

Leading Kings XI Punjab in IPL, Gilchrist however refused to comment on whether the former England coach will able to replicate the success he achieved as the coach of the England team.

Asked to comment on the appointment of the 62-year-old Zimbabwean, Gilchrist said: "I won't pass comments on his age. It's more what skill he brings and his level of enthusiasm. He had all that in abundance when he was coaching other teams."


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Duncan has great skills as coach'

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"I don't know Duncan all that well. I met him a couple of times when I played against the team he coached. It's hard for me to comment whether he is going to be successful or not.

"He has obviously got great skills as coach and all the players from his previous teams seem to be supporting him and saying it's a pretty good appointment. So I wish him all the best,"


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
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