Fletcher takes over as India coach

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Former Zimbabwe national cricket team captain and England coach Duncan Fletcher was on Wednesday appointed as India coach for a two-year period.

He succeeds South African Gary Kirsten to become the fourth successive foreign coach of the World Cup-winning team.

Fletcher (62) won a record eight consecutive Tests for England in 2004 before guiding the team to a long overdue Ashes success in 2005. England’s current coach Andy Flower had also been on India’s radar to succeed Kirsten.

But it is thought Flower, also from Zimbabwe, was never seriously in the frame with his family happily settled in England.

Michael Vaughan, the former captain who formed a close bond with Fletcher during their most successful period, tweeted yesterday: “Great coach who will work well with (India captain Mahendra) Dhoni.

“Duncan will work well with all the talent. His biggest challenge will come from the media. He has never really understood how it works.”

Fletcher’s first assignment will be India’s tour of West Indies in June, featuring one Twenty20 international, five one-day internationals and three Tests.

India, currently rated the number one Test side, then travel to England for the summer’s eagerly-awaited tour, featuring Tests at Lord’s, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston and The Oval, plus one Twenty20 international and five ODIs.

New Zealand’s former Test captain, John Wright, held the job between 2000 and 2005 before ex-Australia skipper Greg Chappell took over for two years.

After the 2007 World Cup, India had no full-time coach, relying on specialist bowling and fielding coaches instead.

That ended when Kirsten, a former South African batsman, closely mentored by Fletcher at Western Province, took over in March 2008.