Photographs: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made it clear that under-fire coach of the Indian team Duncan Fletcher has its "full backing and support" and has no immediate plans to remove him despite calls for his ouster from batting icon like Sunil Gavaskar.
Fletcher was summoned by the BCCI chief N Srinivasan for a meeting on Thursday to discuss the team's sagging performances of late but no warning was given to him that his job was on line.
"Let me set the record straight. Duncan Fletcher has the wholehearted backing and support of BCCI. There has been no discussion on his removal. We told him that we have a lot of faith in his coaching abilities and he should not be worried about anything else", BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel informed.
"There is no truth in reports that Fletcher was given a warning by the president (Srinivasan)," Patel, who was present at the meeting, said.
'Mr Gavaskar is entitled to have his opinion'
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Asked about Gavaskar's comments that Fletcher should be removed immediately, Patel said, "Mr Gavaskar is entitled to have his opinion just like I have an opinion. It is not necessary that the BCCI is in agreement with what Mr Gavaskar thinks. It's his opinion and the BCCI has nothing to do with it."
Fletcher's trip to Chennai a day before the team's departure to Bangladesh gave rise to speculation about BCCI boss making it clear that the board was not happy with his performance after India lost back-to-back Test and ODI series in South Africa and New Zealand.
Fletcher's one year contract extension ends on March 31 this year.
"Many people are not aware that BCCI routinely holds meeting with the coach and the support staff after each and every tour. This is an age-old norm. This meeting would have also been held at the Cricket Centre in Mumbai but our president had a cataract operation and was unable to travel. That's why, I also flew down to Chennai for this meeting," Patel said.
An additional trainer
Photographs: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters
Patel also dismissed suggestions of an Indian support staff being tagged along with the current trio of Fletcher, Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penny.
"We have no plans of having an Indian in the existing support staff as of now," he clarified.
However, he was not very forthcoming on whether Fletcher will get an extension till the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
"This is an ongoing process. There has been absolutely no talks on Fletcher's removal. But yes, it's not a process where the day your contract expires, the very next day the papers are ready. It takes time.
"World Cup is still some distance away. In fact, we had a very fruitful discussion with Fletcher. We asked him as to what we can do to help him. He said about the requirement of an additional trainer. It was a very positive discussion and exchange of ideas," Patel added.