Reacting to India's shocking Test rout in England, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to appoint former India captain Ravi Shastri to oversee and guide Team India during the forthcoming One-day International matches against England. Duncan Fletcher will continue as head coach while Shastri will be the overall in-charge of cricket affairs. The first ODI will be played in Bristol on August 25. The series ends with a one-off T20 international in Birmingham on September 7. ('Duncan Fletcher Needs Help')
The BCCI also ruled out axing Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain. Dhoni's Test captaincy has been under the scanner for his poor overseas record. In 2011, India lost eight Tests on-the-trot in England and Australia. India's next Test series will be at home against the West Indies in October-November this year.
Former Australian batsman and NDTV expert Dean Jones welcomed Shastri's appointment. "Ravi will have to make a fair assessment on how the players are reacting to Duncan Fletcher. The players must enjoy playing for India. That's important," said Jones. Shastri, who played 80 Tests and 150 one-dayers matches between 1981 and 1992, temporarily coached the Indian team during the 2007 tour of Bangladesh. (Dhoni Saved India Further Humiliation: Gavaskar)
In its continuing efforts to re-energise the support to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's beleaguered team, the BCCI has given a break to the bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney for the one-day series. The BCCI has appointed Sanjay Bangar, former Indian all-rounder, and former India fast bowler Bharat Arun as assistant coaches of the team. R. Sridhar will join the support team as the fielding coach for the one-day series.
Bangar was the coach of Indian Premier League team King's XI Punjab. Arun has worked with the Indian under-19 team in recent times. Bangar's work was praised after Kings XI made the IPL finals. Ahead of the England series, former India captain Rahul Dravid worked as a consultant with Team India. He came in on a request from Fletcher. (India Need to go Back to Basics: McGrath)
India lost the five-match Test series against England 3-1. The BCCI said in a statement on Tuesday that it was mulling the changes for over two weeks. According to the BCCI, the changes are only for the limited overs series. Fletcher's contract with the BCCI is till the end of the 2015 ICC World Cup.
When Fletcher replaced Gary Kirsten following the 2011 World Cup, the Zimbabwean came with a fabulous track record and CV. He was the main man in masterminding a turnaround in the fortunes of the England team. But his success with Team India, especially overseas, has been horrendous. Out of the 20 Tests India played abroad under Fletcher, Dhoni & Co. won two and lost 13.
"If India have to sack Duncan Fletcher, they must do it now. They can't do it closer to the World Cup. Australia did the same with Mickey Arthur and brought in Darren Lehmann before the Ashes," explained Jones.
Jones also backed Dhoni to retain the captaincy. "Tough situations bring out the best leaders. Dhoni must lead by example and the fact is there is no one to replace him. Virat Kohli is out of form so Dhoni is the best man now," the Aussie said.
Shastri's introduction may see a change in India's ODI fortunes - Team Dhoni won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 beating England in the final - but how that will solve their travel illness in the longer format of the game remains to be seen. India travel to Australia at the end of this year. (Dhoni Proud to Wear India Cap: Laxman)