• Saturday, December 20, 2014

Freedom in the air

India send SOS to Ravi

Afp, New Delhi

India's cricket chiefs on Tuesday effectively sidelined head coach Duncan Fletcher for the one-day series against England following their 3-1 defeat in the Tests, placing former all-rounder Ravi Shastri in charge.

Shastri, in England as a TV commentator, has been asked to "oversee" the squad for the five-match series as part of a shake-up in which the bowling and fielding coaches have also been ordered to stand aside.

"The BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] has decided to avail the services of former India captain Ravi Shastri to oversee and guide the team for the one-day matches against England," a statement said.

"Duncan Fletcher will continue as head coach, while Shastri will be the overall in-charge of cricket affairs of the Indian team."

Bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney were given "a break" with former Indian Test players Sanjay Bangar and Bharat Arun being appointed in their place as assistant coaches.

"In the continuing efforts to re-energise the support to the team... the BCCI has given a break to Dawes and Penney for the one-day series," the statement said.

England on Sunday inflicted yet another humiliating defeat upon India as they won the fifth and final Test at The Oval by an innings and 244 runs to complete a 3-1 series win.

India's spectacular collapse has set off a flood of angry criticism at home, with some fans calling for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to be sacked and others saying players should forfeit their wages.

Critics have also been baying for the blood of Fletcher, a former Zimbabwe batsman who has also coached England, saying his position had become untenable.

But former India all-rounder Madan Lal said that simply appointing Shastri was not going to yield results.

"You have to sit down and ask the coach what went wrong. Merely sidelining him is not going to help," he told AFP.

"His [Shastri's] presence is not going to make any difference.

"We are the cricket powerhouse, the world is looking at us. We must behave in a more professional way," he added.

The first ODI is on August 25 in Bristol.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Last modified: 12:45 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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