Jerry: How come you never got married Mr. Fletcher?
Elroy Fletcher: Well, the common story is, the girl that you’s gon’ ask you waited too long to ask. She went on to marry somebody else and then you can’t find anybody to compare to her, so what happens… You get old.
– From ‘Be Kind Rewind’
Unfortunately, it seems India got old too and we can’t find anyone to compare to Dravid, Laxman and Kumble. Hell, we can’t even find another Sreesanth.
Now, of course, we can’t compare the Fletcher in the movie to our own stony-faced Duncan Fletcher. India wins – he doesn’t smile. India lose – he doesn’t smile. Even when he does have something to say – he chooses to remain quiet. He remains the only consistent factor in the Indian team and that isn’t what we want.
Can we rewind to a time… when the coach would speak his mind (even Chappell would do). But Fletcher hides behind the BCCI and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Even Trevor Penny is sent for press conferences but no Fletcher. Does he even have a point of view about Indian cricket? Does he have any vision at all or does he simply want to count the money that is pouring into his account?
Should Fletcher walk away from this? Well, any self-respecting coach would have. Gary Kirsten walked away from this team (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) when he found that he just wasn’t getting any respect from the Board of Control for Cricket in India. But not Fletcher. He’s still hanging on but for what? Is he going to turn this around? How is that going to happen. Come on Duncan, drop the act please.
Can we rewind to a time… when Dhoni was a risk taker. There are even ads about the day Dhoni threw the ball to Joginder Sharma in the final of the World T20 tournament in 2007. He took a punt and it worked. But now, he seems to analyze everything. Analysis is good but after a point, it means nothing if you can’t go out and execute your plans. No he wants to play it safe, he wants to keep his profits intact but this is sport, not business.
Can we rewind to a time… Sachin Tendulkar wasn’t bound in chains. Even if it’s for a short while, wouldn’t India love to see the Sachin of old, playing his shots without fear. Now, he seems to want to be perfect. It seems like he has this template for a perfect innings in his mind – no edges, no false shots, no criticisms either. But this is cricket – a sport – and sometimes the unpredictable happens in sport.
Can we rewind to a time… when our spinners could get batsmen out without having to rely on the pitch. India’s over-reliance on the pitch – very evident throughout the series – is proving to be detrimental to the growth of spin bowling in the country. Keep it tight, bowl it flat, on the legs please. Just ask Kumble. Indeed, is it time for India to have a spin coach as well?
Can we rewind to a time… when the IPL was all fun and games. We wouldn’t want it masquerading as cricket in any sense. It isn’t cricket and our teams should not get picked on their performances in the IPL. And while the BCCI invests time and money in the T20 tournament, what does it do for the Ranji Trophy? If you want players who can play in the longer format then they have to come out of Ranji and if you want players who can actually cut it at international level – then improve the standard of the tournament.