As Duncan Fletcher takes over as India's coach he will have two major concerns. Can he improve on India's present stellar position in world cricket and how will he get along with the media in a country where there are millions clamouring for news every day.
No doubt he will be confident that he can keep India on the upward path immediately after their success in the World Cup. They are flying high under their captain M.S. Dhoni and there is a rich vein of talent desperate to get into the team.
If Fletcher could turn England into winners he should have no difficulty in keeping India on the winning path.
He never found friends in the English media pack who felt he distrusted them. There is usually someone in every press box boasting about his direct line to the coach; I never heard that while Fletcher was in-charge. Yet he appeared to get along comfortably with the South African journalists so perhaps it was our own fault. The competition is much greater in England. How will it be in India with its hundreds of newspapers in many different languages?
Saved by captains
He was saved in England by two captains — Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan. Both liked to talk, both knew every journalist in the pack and their press conferences and TV and radio interviews were both colourful and interesting.
Within minutes of the announcement Vaughan had told his Twitter followers “Fletcher's biggest challenge will be the media. He has never really understood how it worked.”
In a TV interview Hussain added: “He will be under even greater pressure from the media in India.”
I met him on his first tour of South Africa before a one-day international. We had a brief but pleasant chat and England won a superb victory which should have made Fletcher happy. But when I found myself in a lift with him afterwards and said “It must have been a great start for any coach” he gave me a suspicious look before saying “yes” — very quietly — as he got out.
Yet there is no doubt that in every other way Fletcher is an admirable coach. He got more out of Alec Stewart who had never played well against spin until he came under Fletcher's wings, he encouraged the use of the sweep and he seemed to guide Graeme Hick find the maximum runs. His great achievement was to bring the best from Andrew Flintoff as England won back the Ashes.
When Fletcher took charge Flintoff was at the crossroads. No one was sure whether he would finish as an all-rounder in the same street as Ian Botham and Imran Khan or drop out of the game as a fat failure.
It must be due in part to Fletcher that the slimmed down Flintoff — despite his miserable time as captain, his exploits on a pedalo in West Indies and his wish to spend too much time drinking — had several memorable years.
For that reason alone there will be many cricket people in England watching Fletcher's journey through India with huge interest.