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Fletcher gears up for India cricket challenge

CHENNAI, India May 13 – Cricket-obsessed India's newly-appointed coach Duncan Fletcher on Friday said he was excited about working with the world champions and number one Test side.The former Zimbabwe all-rounder, who coached England for eight years, also said his approach would be friendly rather than dictatorial, much like his predecessor Gary Kirsten.

"This is new challenge for me," Fletcher, 62, said in his first formal interaction with the Indian media.

"I had a bit of advice from Kirsten and bowling coach Eric Simmons. I had another chat with (India’s) skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It is a very exciting job, coaching the world champion team. It’s a high profile job."

Fletcher took over one of the biggest jobs in world cricket last month, ahead of India’s tour of the West Indies in June, which is followed by an important tour of England from July to September.

"There will not be any major changes in my plans prepared for the team," said Fletcher.

"I watched the Indian team’s performance in South Africa and the World Cup. But I will make my observations after being present physically with the Indian team and then perhaps I can make some changes, if necessary.

"I am in a place where one cannot have a dictatorial role.

"It’s not about dictating to the Indian players how I want them to play — sure to some degree you have to try influencing them — but it’s about offering advice to the players and it’s up to them to take it on board."

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Fletcher, who helped England regain the Ashes in 2005, said he was banking on his past experience of the region to excel in his new role.

"In sub-continent conditions, I have had fairly good results in the past with back-to-back series wins in Pakistan and Sri Lanka."

India, the World Cup winners, are also ranked number one in Test cricket.

Fletcher said he will look to build mutual respect during his two-year stint with the Indian team.

"You have to gain their respect and they have to gain my respect," he said. "Once you have that then it makes your job easier. It’s something you just have to work on as time progresses.

"I have worked with some big players elsewhere as well and you have just got to develop this man-management process."

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