Duncan Fletcher resigns as England coach

This is very much just confirmation of what we've all known for a few days now. There was no way that Duncan Fletcher could continue after this winter.

It's sad that his time as England coach ends like this, because overall he's been a huge success. When Fletcher took over the England team in 1999, they were an absolute shambles. Every now and again selectorial decisions led to a half-decent side which would promptly be dismantled for the next match. It was baffling and ineffectual.

Duncan Fletcher introduced the rather novel approach of planning ahead. England started to identify players who could represent the country in the long-term. They were picked and they were persevered with. From this foundation, Fletcher could work with individual players, improving them and actually reaping the rewards. These players were then capable of carrying out specific plans. England actually functioned as a team - not just 11 of them, either.

Under Nasser Hussain, England learnt to fight and became hard to beat. Under Michael Vaughan they learnt how to win.

England's Ashes tour was a rank failure because Fletcher didn't seem to acknowledge that his long-term plans had been largely scuppered through injuries. There didn't seem to be a plan B. Instead Fletcher went against his entire ethos, chopping and changing players. Perhaps he was kidding himself that returns for old favourites were evidence of forward-thinking, when in fact it was just desperate short-termism.

England's one-day side has never been good. It's also never benefitted from any consistency of selection. Maybe it's not one match and out. It's more one tour and out. As this World Cup began, England's team was a rag-tag assortment of very recent successes and underperforming veterans.

Fletcher never made any headway with the one-day team and ever since the Test team plateaued and even regressed, his days have been numbered.

We started this post with the intention of celebrating Duncan Fletcher's achievements, but sporting ends are very rarely celebratory.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Central contracts seem to be a double edged sword. Consistency of choice seems to drag along complacency. How do the Australians fund the team and how do they manage so well to send the players back to the state sides to find form and confidence? Because they do manage this being dropped revs up the players gives the Aussies a bigger pool to pick the squads from.

11:41 pm  

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