NEW DELHI, India, April 28 – India's newly-appointed coach Duncan Fletcher on Thursday got a taste of the challenges he faces when two senior former players said a fellow countryman should have got the job instead.
Fletcher, a former Zimbabwean all-rounder who rose to prominence during his eight-year stint as England coach, was awarded a two-year contract Wednesday by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian captains and influential voices in the cricket establishment, expressed displeasure over Fletcher’s appointment.
"Who is Duncan Fletcher?" Dev told the Hindustan Times newspaper.
"I would like to see Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh (former India players) as coaches of the Indian team. Not because they are Indians but because they did a great job at the T20 World Cup in 2007."
Gavaskar said former India all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath, who played a key role in guiding the team to their first World Cup win in 1983, should have been picked.
"Someone like Amarnath would have been a better choice for the simple reason that the core of the Indian team today is from the Hindi-speaking belt," he told the NDTV news channel.
"He would have got on brilliantly with this group as well as the seniors. It would have been a lot easier for Amarnath to understand and interact with the players.
"There is a perception and a wrong one that an Indian (coach) can be influenced and that he will get involved in politics. You are presuming that he cannot be a strong person."