Duncan Fletcher: My Indian Mission

Have decided to accept job as India coach, on condition that I can bring in my own people, and my own sunglasses. Telephoned Ashley and told him there is work to be done: coaching, selecting, chipping in with a tidy spell, a few useful runs in the key number eight position and being the right sort of guy to have around the place. Ash wasn’t convinced, but I told him that a few words in the right ears at immigration and the Maharajah of Spain could be back in business.

Harbhajan got wind of this and has been seeking assurances about his position. I told him that under me, every spinner would get a fair crack of the whip. Look at Monty, I said. He said that’s what I’m worried about. I said: we’ll go out and have a game of golf, talk it over. He said that he doesn’t play golf. Nor did Monty, I told him. I think he got the message. He’s getting lessons from Collingwood in the morning.

Why did I take the job? Of course, the chance to work with Tendulkar was a huge draw. If I can just get him to master the forward press, that young man could really make something of himself as a cricketer. And with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I am convinced that Dravid could be turned into a pretty useful reverse-swing option. Also, Boycott has gone on record as saying that he cannot eat curry: this should at least reduce the risk of any chance encounters in restaurants, etc.

On the whole, I am confident that the side can be moulded into a really strong Test outfit. This is surely what the public and players want, not this ODI and Twenty20 junk.

After my experience in England, it will be nice to be able to work away from the constant scrutiny of journalists and the hysterical media. Vaughan has been telling me that modern cricket coaching is all about communication and encouraged me to ‘Tweet’ in order to connect with fans and the media. I was sceptical; he told me it was as important as having a straight, short mid-off on a two-paced deck. I told him I would try it and have already composed my first Tweet:

“Hello Indians. This is your coach speaking. I have no further comment at this juncture.”

I will win them over in no time.

By Alan Tyers

CrickiLeaks: The Secret Ashes Diaries by Tyers and Beach is out now. Peruse it here

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