Mumbai: A number of senior India and English cricketers have asked MS Dhoni & Co to make maximum use of their new coach Duncan Fletcher's knowledge of England, whom he was coaching previously. However, former India stumper Farookh Engineer believes it is the latter who needs to make the most of the opportunity.
Engineer, who is based in the United Kingdom, reckoned it is the former Zimbabwean skipper, who needs to prove his worth on his first major assignment since India's recent tour to West Indies was hardly a challenge given the absence of most senior players from both teams. "Fletcher has got to prove his worth. He has been praised a lot recently, so let's see how he fares against England. He has to now help our boys win against his former team," Engineer told MiD DAY from Lancashire.
Fletcher, who quit as England coach after the 2007 World Cup, is now in-charge of defending India's No 1 Test ranking against an English team he should be knowing like the back of his hand.
Engineer felt Fletcher's man-management skills will be under the scanner across the next couple of months as India play four Tests, five ODI and one-off T20 international on English soil, beginning with the Lord's Test on Thursday.
"Personally, I am not a big fan of Fletcher. However, his man-management skills will be put to test given the hype surrounding the contest. He has done a smart thing by keeping a low profile so far. He has handled this star-studded Indian team well. Fletcher is quite sensible in not taking away the limelight from our players," added the 73-year-old.
Engineer, who played 46 Tests and five ODIs for India between 1961 and 1975, said aggression will be the key to success for Team India. "I am expecting great things from our boys. They are the World No 1 Test team and World Champions (in ODIs). I am fully backing India to win the series. We have to live up to these tags now.
"I was disappointed with our poor finish against the Windies. It was ridiculous to not go for runs in the final Dominica Test (which finished in a draw leading to India winning the series 1-0). We now have to stamp our authority on England soil. We have to be aggressive and can't afford to play defensive cricket," he said.
While England is gung-ho about its pace bowlers, India boasts its batting strength to set-up a mouth-watering contest. "India's biggest challenge will be facing the new ball. Chris Tremlett and James Anderson can be very dangerous on green tops. We have a good, experienced batting line up, but we'll obviously miss Virender Sehwag (out for the first two Tests)," said Engineer.
Engineer also is confident that Sachin Tendulkar will notch his 100th international ton at Lord's, which will also be his first at the historic venue. "It would be a fitting tribute for him to reach the milestone at the Mecca of Cricket and I have a feeling he will get it," he signed off.