Cricket Expert & Columnist
Duncan Fletcher will be a cricket god in India if he can build on Gary Kirsten's work, says Nasser Hussain.
Last Updated: 27/04/11 4:03pm
Having worked with Duncan Fletcher and watched him operate from a distance, I can say with absolute confidence that India have appointed an amazing coach.
Securing Duncan's services at a time when their team is on a high is a real scoop for the Board of Control for Cricket in India, particularly with a tour of England on the horizon.
He is the perfect person to build on the considerable successes of Gary Kirsten, a man who in many respects is Duncan's protégé.
The two know each other extremely well and communicate on a constant basis, so Duncan will certainly be well-briefed about his new role.
It won't hurt either that he knows India's current bowling coach, Eric Simmons, very well from his Western Province days.
Fletcher's persona should fit in perfectly with the Indian set-up because he is a man who achieves his best work behind the scenes.
Naturally his knowledge of modern cricket and current players is vast and his understanding of the game's techniques extensive.
But he won't try to take on the Indian media or the team's star players in the same way that Greg Chappell did, nor will he interfere unnecessarily in the way Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads the team and as a result I'm sure coach and captain will get on well together.
When it comes to improving world-class players, Duncan prefers to take things right back to bare basics such as grip and stance rather then make wholesale changes for the sake of it.
Duncan is smart enough to know that if he continues Kirsten's good work he will be a god in India and if not, the pressure on him will be incredible.
In that sense you could argue that Duncan could not have picked a worse time to take over because Indian expectations are so high.
They sit top of the Test ratings and second in the one-day rankings having just won the World Cup on home soil, so no doubt many fans will expect them to win everything from now on in.
But that won't trouble Duncan - he knows how the ground lies. There's an old saying in cricket - 'you only win if you win' - and Duncan will focus on the positive rather than the pressure.
Duncan's appointment is a timely reminder to England that they must do everything in their power to look after Andy Flower because coaches of his calibre are in short supply.
By the end of his time with England in 2007, Duncan did look tired and jaded - as would most people after dealing with the media on a constant basis for eight or so years - and there is a warning there.
Nevertheless, he remained a very honourable, trustworthy and decent guy.
One of the first things Duncan said to me was that we should trust each other implicitly and never speak about each other in public.
Privately we had a lot of arguments but publicly we always backed each other to the hilt and that trust and honesty is what he brings to his side.
These days coaches go through just as much if not more than the players. When the players have rest days they are invariably working on something to try and give their team the edge.
The demands are huge but so are the rewards and I'm sure Duncan would like nothing better than getting one over fellow Zimbabwean Flower and England this summer.
Don't forget that Duncan doesn't just know the England players very well but has a great understanding of how to achieve the best results in English conditions.
If England didn't know so already, they can expect India to provide a genuine test this summer.