Duncan Fletcher has not had the best of times since taking over as India cricket coach but veteran batsman Rahul Dravid says he should not be written off just yet as the Zimbabwean needs “more time and space” to produce results.
Keeping in mind his wealth of experience and exploits with the England team, which includes the famous Ashes series win over Australia in 2005, Fletcher was appointed as Gary Kristen’s successor after India’s World Cup triumph.
The 63-year-old, however, had a forgettable experience in his first major outing with the Indian team in England, where the visitors, approaching the series as world’s numero uno Test side, were whitewashed in all formats of the game.
But Dravid backed Fletcher to turn things around for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men, provided he is given more time.
“Look at his (Fletcher’s) achievement with the England team. He comes in with a lot of experience behind him. He has vast knowledge to offer (to India),” Dravid told PTI in an interview.
“It’s too premature to judge him. We need to give more time and space to him to produce results,” he said.
At 38, Dravid is still going strong and was India’s star performer with the bat in England. He, however, was disappointed with the outcome of the series but felt the hosts were by far the better side and deserved to be praised highly for their achievement.
“Obviously, England is a very good team at present. They played some very good cricket and you need to give them credit. They outplayed us in all departments of the game. They showed better skills during that series,” he said.
“But that’s not an excuse. We didn’t play well enough. Sometimes there is no harm losing to a team that is better than you as long as you learn from the mistakes,” Dravid said.
He also did not buy the theory that fatigue had a role to play in India’s poor performance in England.
“Playing a lot of cricket is part and parcel of the game. That’s the way FTP is made and the tours are structured. You just get to learn with it and get on with it,” the right-hander said on the sidelines of the launch of SG’s Maxxport, a sportswear brand here.
Dravid, however, was hopeful of a reversal of fortunes for India in the ODI series against England, termed as a revenge series, starting today at Hyderabad.
“The Indian team (against England) is quite young because of lot of injuries but I hope we will be able to perform well. But it won’t be easy because England are a very good team at the moment. They are playing very good cricket and they are well prepared. So it will be a challenge,” he observed.
He also feels that the five-match home series against England is an ideal opportunity for young fast bowlers to make themselves count in the absence of regulars like Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel, who are out with injuries.
In the first two ODIs against England, India’s pace attack will be spearheaded by Praveen Kumar in the presence of rookies Varun Aaron, Sreenath Aravind, Umesh Yadav and R Vinay Kumar.
“It’s exciting time for a young fast bowler and a lot of them had been picked in the ODI series. Because of injuries a few spots have been created for them and it’s a great opportunity for them to establish themselves. It would be interesting to see which one of them grabs the opportunity and pick up the chance,” Dravid said.
Asked about Harbhajan Singh’s omission from the first two ODIs, Dravid said the off-spinner is too good a bowler to be left out of the team for long.
“Harbhajan is a top-class performer and I am sure he will bounce back. He is a very good bowler. I hope that we see the best of him against the West Indies and Australia. When he performs well we are a very competitive team,” Dravid insisted.
Dravid also said that he was not against the controversial Decision Review System (DRS) even though he was at the wrong end of it on quite a few occasions in England.
He feels the ICC needs to constantly review the system till the time it is fully convinced.
“DRS is a work in progress, you have to keep reviewing it from time to time. The ICC felt that it wasn’t up to the mark and good enough then I think it’s important they go back and review it and try and make it better. Technology keeps improving, so on and off I am sure the ICC will do it. There might be a time in future when the ICC will be confident with the technology to ensure that it’s a must,” he said.
“Personally, I would like to see constant improvement. I wouldn’t dismiss it straightway nor would I say it’s perfect but what I would say is we need to look to keep improving it.”
Asked about his future plans now that he has quit the 50-over format, Dravid gave a realistic reply.
“I haven’t thought to far ahead. I am looking forward to the Test series against the West Indies; see how it goes and looking forward to playing well. I will take one step at a time,” he signed off.