- Title: BARBADOS: CRICKET - Duncan Fletcher stands down as England coach
- Date: 20th April 2007
- Summary: SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID MORGAN, ECB CHAIRMAN, SAYING: "I would hope that within a very short time, and to be specific within 48 hours, that we will have appointed someone as a caretaker coach, and there is the possibility that rather than appoint someone as a caretaker coach we may appoint quite quickly Duncan Fletcher's permanent successor."
- Embargoed: 5th May 2007 02:50
- Location: Barbados
- Country: Barbados
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA2NKHPTOC07KR61TDM8RYFZJ1Z
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher has resigned as England coach it was announced at an English Cricket Board (ECB) press conference on Thursday (April 19).
ECB Director of Cricket Operations John Carr said that Fletcher had told him of his intention to leave his post before the match against Bangladesh.
"I met with Duncan at his request on 10th April, which was the day before the Bangladesh ODI World Cup match, and Duncan indicated to me at that stage that it was his intention to hand in his notice to the ECB at the end of the tournament," said Carr.
ECB Chairman David Morgan said that a caretaker coach would be appointed in the next 48 hours, and even raised the possibility that a permanent replacement would be named in that time-frame.
"I would hope that within a very short time, and to be specific within 48 hours, that we will have appointed someone as a caretaker coach, and there is the possibility that rather than appoint someone as a caretaker coach we may appoint quite quickly Duncan Fletcher's permanent successor," said Morgan.
The Chairman went on to confirm that under-fire Michael Vaughan would lead the side in the upcoming test series against the West Indies, but stopped short of saying that the captain would retain the post in the one-day side.
"Well Michael Vaughan is the England captain. I've talked with the chairman of selectors this morning and the selectors wish him to lead the side into the West Indies test series," he said.
Fletcher's taciturn manner masks a steely determination and a fierce loyalty that have for eight years made him a firm favourite with England's cricketers.
But his resignation after England's second-round World Cup exit suggested that like so many sports figures before him he lost his sense of timing.
Hindsight is a fine thing in any walk of life but how the quiet Zimbabwean must rue not quitting when he and England were so close to the top of the world.
As he was cheered through the streets of London on an open-top bus after England's 2-1 Ashes series triumph in 2005 over Australia, it must have crossed Fletcher's mind to step down after six years of hard work had borne fruit.
Instead, he decided to stay on and his team have been in steady decline ever since with the World Cup debacle following a 5-0 mauling by Australia in the return Ashes series.
His reasons for continuing in the role could only be guessed at. Perhaps it was a yearning for more international cricket after he was deprived of so many appearances as a player.
He captained his native Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup, including their opening shock win against Australia. However, the six matches in the tournament constituted his only international caps as Zimbabwe were not yet a test nation.
The all-rounder then turned his attention to jobs which perfectly suited his precise, dedicated and under-stated nature.
He devised Zimbabwe's car registration system and also spent time working in systems management.
His love of cricket tempted him back and he began a successful career as a coach, leading English county side Glamorgan to glory before England came calling in 1999.
Despite his achievements he was little known when his appointment was announced, his quiet, modest demeanour leading many pundits to wonder how he could motivate a bunch of underachieving cricketers.
But his close bond with the players, especially captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan, and his methodical approach brought results.
England rose to second in the test rankings and although the one-day side struggled they offered promise.
England went into the 2005 Ashes believing they could beat their old Australian enemy for the first time in 18 years.
Fletcher's men triumphed 2-1 in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest test series in history.
Fletcher looked slightly uncomfortable with the praise which came his way but his pride was also clearly evident.
In recent months, though, his emotionless exterior has become grumpier as everything crumbled around him. He became snappy with the media and looked aloof in World Cup training sessions, standing on the boundary well away from the nets.
A drinking scandal which led to Andrew Flintoff being stripped of the vice captaincy also suggested Fletcher was losing his disciplinary grip on his charges.
In the end, though, a real motivator was needed to revive a flagging, directionless England and his quiet, trusting approach was found wanting.
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