Duncan Fletcher could be under pressure, says Mark Ramprakash, but Indian players have to shoulder blame for poor form
Last Updated: 05/01/13 2:01pm
Fletcher: needs to find some characters for his India team, says Ramps
Mark Ramprakash believes Duncan Fletcher's position as India coach could be under threat.
The former England chief took charge of the subcontinent outfit in April 2011, but India have won just six of their 20 Test matches under his tutelage and slipped from first to fifth in the five-day rankings.
The reigning 50-over world champions have fared better in the ODI format - seizing victory in 21 of the 38 games in which the Zimbabwean has led them - but defeat to Pakistan on Thursday in Kolkata saw them sink 2-0 behind in the three-match series against their great rivals.
"India need to find guys beneath the current side who have the right attitude, character and hunger to want to go out and represent their country."
"You have to ask what the role of the coach is," ex-England batsman Ramprakash, told Sky Sports.
"Is it simply to prepare the players and make sure their practice is intense or is he being judged on results?
"If it's the latter there has to be repercussions; usually the players or the captain get the axe, but in this case it could be the coach.
"But I would be looking at the players and trying to find guys beneath the current side who have the right attitude, character and hunger to want to go out and represent India and look for continued improvement in their game.
"Indian cricket has got to identify those sort of players to carry the team forward because right now the senior players aren't producing."
India were bowled out for 165 at Eden Gardens in reply to Pakistan's tally of 250, in which opener Nasir Jamshed notched 106 to record his third straight ODI century against the hosts.
Home skipper MS Dhoni finished his innings on a surprisingly sedate 54 from 89 balls, but Ramprakash reckons other batsmen's failings, and not the wicketkeeper's methodical strokeplay, were to blame for the heavy defeat.
"Dhoni likes to give himself a chance; he plays himself in knowing that he has the range of shots to make up runs later on," said Ramprakash. "But he didn't get the support he needed from his fellow batsmen and there were no partnerships formed for him to get India within striking range.
"India have experienced players who know they have to rotate the strike, but what are their options? They are being tied down by a bowling line-up with no obvious weak link, and Saeed Ajmal who can turn the ball both ways. They didn't really look to sweep, which is fine, but they didn't use their feet and hit down the ground either.
"India need to work hard because while their top six have great statistics, they are out of form and have not got a score of note for some time."
Ramprakash was, however, impressed by 23-year-old Pakistani centurion Jamshed and his opening partner Mohammad Hafeez, who cracked 10 boundaries during a 74-ball 76.
"Jamshed played good shots all around the wicket," said the former Surrey and Middlesex star. "He was very strong off the front and back foot and also when the ball swung in; he showed deft touches and was the shining light.
"Hafeez, meanwhile, looks a well-organised player; he played well off the back foot through the offside but also through the leg side when the balls were straighter.
"He and Jamshed run between the wickets well, too; it has been a while since Pakistan have had a productive opening partnership but they have found one now."
Pakistani seamer Junaid Khan followed up his figures of 4-43 in the first ODI in Chennai with 3-39 in Kolkata and Ramprakash's fellow Sky Sports analyst, Vikram Solanki, praised the consistency with which the one-time Lancashire quick bowled.
"Junaid didn't have the assistance he had in the first ODI, but he got a good grouping together, bowled aggressively, and didn't give (Virender) Sehwag any room outside off stump, " said Solanki, who will turn out for Surrey next term after joining from Worcestershire.
"He also offered another angle at the death, albeit at the tail-enders, and then Pakistan had Saeed Ajmal (3-20 from 10 overs), who is very difficult to face because of his variation and the pace he bowls at.
"His stock ball is pretty quick so you can't get down the pitch at him and try and knock him around if you are not reading him; he is a magician."