India coach Duncan Fletcher convened a team meeting on Tuesday, counseling players on ways to tackle physiological manipulation from the local media and the opposition -- which they are most likely to encounter in Australia over the next few months, it is reliably learnt.
"The seniors are obviously aware of these things, but Fletcher has been advising the junior guys on how to react to certain things that will be said on the field or in the media. He's a very wise man and has been up against Australia on numerous occasions.
They (the players) were keen on listening to his past experiences here," a member of India's coaching staff said on condition of anonymity. Fletcher is an old Australian enemy. The last time he was here as coach, England suffered their first Ashes whitewash in 87 years.
Who can ever forget the time he goaded Ricky Ponting from the Trent Bridge balcony (after the controversial run-out) during the 2005 Ashes? Fletcher has questioned Ponting's integrity on many occasions. Following the 2009 Cardiff Test, the former Zimbabwe captain accused the then-Australian captain of "definitely not playing in the spirit of the game" in a newspaper column that further verified their fractious relationship.
The Herald Sun screamed out loud on its front page on Tuesday: "This is the man (Duncan Fletcher) who will provide Ricky Ponting an extra motivation to overthrow Indians this summer." Besides that, they called the Indian coach "one of cricket's greatest antagonists."
Clearly, there's a lot of animosity. India spinner Pragyan Ojha revealed a little about what Fletcher had spoken during the meeting. "He's got so much knowledge to pass on. Everyone is trying to interact, and get the best out of him. During the meeting, the first point he told us was 'they will try and come at you. Rather than reacting to them, just stay calm and show what you're made off with your bat or ball'.
Though Fletcher enjoyed a lot of success during the Michael Vaughan-era, he has lost nine of last 15 Tests at the helm of England and India, winning just three matches in the progress. It's not just the Indians who are seeking redemption in Australia.