Officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India seem to be cooling down over Mahendra Singh Dhoni's open support for under-fire coach Duncan Fletcher. After the Test debacle in England, the BCCI had appointed Ravi Shastri as Team India director for the ODI series, a move that clearly wasn't received well by Dhoni.
In Bristol earlier this week, Dhoni told reporters that Fletcher was the team boss and would guide India till the 2015 World Cup. "Definitely he will lead us into the World Cup. Also he is still the boss. We have Ravi (Shastri) who will look into everything, but Duncan Fletcher is the boss. It's not as if his powers or his position have been curtailed," said Dhoni.
The captain's reactions, coming on the back of Shastri's appointment, was met with angry comments from a section of BCCI officials. They wanted to review Dhoni's 'audacious' quotes at the Board's next working committee meeting. Better sense seems to be prevailing now.
The man who is playing the 'cooling' agent is BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, who was among a core group of Board functionaries to appoint Shastri on top of Fletcher. The BCCI also appointed three assistant coaches after sending Fletcher's hand-picked support staff Joe Dawes (bowling coach) and Trevor Penney (fielding coach) on a break.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Patel said Dhoni was only stating "facts". Fletcher's contract with BCCI is till the end of the 2015 World Cup.
Patel, who last week wanted to curb Fletcher's powers as chief coach, said: "Since Fletcher's contract is till the end of the World Cup, Dhoni has only stated the facts." Patel also snubbed his BCCI teammates by saying: "The issue of discussing Dhoni's statement in a meeting does not arise." Patel's latest reactions have been backed by BCCI's interim chief, Shivlal Yadav.
India's 133-run win against England in the second ODI at Cardiff may just add the healing touch. There were no signs of friction in the Indian camp as Dhoni's boys stamped their ODI class in a one-sided contest.
Patel said the performance of the coaching staff will be reviewed after manager Sunil Dev and Shastri submitted their reports at the end of the England series. Dev has already told NDTV that Fletcher has done a good job. Dhoni has never blamed the coaching staff for the Test debacle, always maintaining the onus was on the players to deliver, not the support team.