Dravid wants the BCCI to give Fletcher more authority and influence during the team selection process
India batting legend Rahul Dravid has called on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to give head coach Duncan Fletcher more power and influence within the Indian team.
Dravid also wants to see Fletcher more involved with the team selection for series since he will have the best insight into which players are meeting the standards and which of them are not.
Speaking exclusively on ESPNcricinfo’s Time Out, Dravid said: “Duncan has a lot of strengths as a coach, he connects well with a lot of the players and works quite well with them. But, in some ways, the scope or power that he has to make decisions or to make selections has been a little limited.”
During his international career, Dravid pointed out that coaches like John Wright and Greg Chappell would regularly attend selection committee meetings, but all that started to change when Gary Kirsten took over and it has now become a regular sight with Fletcher as well.
“I remember John Wright or Greg Chappell consistently attending selection committee meetings, watching domestic matches,” Dravid said. “I think over the last three-four years we’ve seen that coaches have taken a slightly more detached, or slightly more backward, role to our selections. I don’t think Gary watched a lot of domestic cricket. Duncan has not really done that as well.”
With the retirement of Dravid and VVS Laxman coming almost right after one another, India are now looking for two permanent young batsmen to fill the two spots left vacant by the veteran duo and Dravid feels that Fletcher has the knowledge and ability to find the right candidates, but only if he is given more access and influence.
“He’s seen a lot of players… who’s a better middle-order player among Manoj Tiwary, an Ajinkya Rahane or a Shikhar Dhawan or Murali Vijay? At least, to have an opinion, an informed opinion by actually coming and watching some games…The fact that he didn’t come and didn’t attend the selection committee meeting tells you that maybe that’s not in his scope of work, he doesn’t have those powers,” Dravid said.
“You want to give people powers and you want to hold them accountable, especially when you have senior, knowledgeable people like Duncan,” Dravid added. “I think his reputation is on the line as well. I think, knowing someone like him, he would want to get more involved and have a say in where his own career and his own reputation is headed.”
Dravid believes Fletcher’s relationship with all of the players in the Indian team can improve if he were given the permission to be a selector as well.
“Some of these people [coaches] do have the maturity to be able to understand that when players come to them with a problem, they don’t necessarily use that as a way to drop someone. But also the coach sees players from such close quarters, he understands players. So I think he [Fletcher] must have a say [in selection],” Dravid explained.
After having lost seven overseas tours in a row, Fletcher started putting more emphasis on the fitness and conditioning of players and Dravid believes that it will do nothing but aid the Indians in the long run.
“Definitely after the loss, he has put a lot of emphasis on the fitness and certain disciplines of the players and knowing and talking to maybe some of them,” Dravid said. “Over the last few months, there has been a little bit more focus on fitness and disciplines and the basics in skill levels of some players. Hopefully we’ll see some of that in these Test series.”
Fletcher was named as India’s head coach after Kirsten recommended him for the job and while both men might be considered as great coaches in the eyes of almost everyone, Dravid sees them as two completely different individuals when it comes to their coaching ideologies.
“Gary was a terrific coach, a really good man-manager, very hardworking person who led with example in a lot of ways in the way he worked,” Dravid added. “Duncan, obviously because of an age difference, maybe doesn’t have that personal connect with some of the players. Or the level of conversations that he can have with some of the guys are maybe a little different to what Gary could have had because he played with some of them.
“But, I think, Duncan has a lot to offer in terms of a coach, in terms of the tactics, his knowledge of the game, he works well in that area, he works quite closely with a lot of players… I think the relationship is good within the team.”
However, whichever course Fletcher decides to take, Dravid believes he will eventually be judged on the performance of the national team.
“The results haven’t been great in the last one year. That’s why these questions are being raised,” Dravid said.