Duncan Fletcher Explains 2005 Ashes

Fletcher’s essay in The Guardian shows his good and bad side: on the one hand, he has an uncannily strong cricketing instinct for spotting weaknesses and making strategy. On the other, however, he’s not a very good people-person; ready to make snap judgments about bowlers and batsmen and then leave them to fester if they don’t fit into his grand schemes.

Some examples. Good Fletcher:

Australians have never played swing well because of the way they stand still until they’ve picked up the line of the ball. That means their feet move into the first line of the ball they see, so if the ball swings they have problems adjusting. And when the ball started reversing, their legs were getting in the way.

Bad Fletcher:

We needed an attacking bowler [Simon Jones] who could get five wickets on a consistent basis, because Andrew Flintoff tended to hold up an end rather than rip through the opposition, Steve Harmison blew hot and cold and Matthew Hoggard was better against the left-handers than the right-handers.

Good Fletcher:

[Ricky Ponting’s] always been vulnerable to leg-before early on, so we decided to bowl for that and to make sure he knew it. That made him conscious about trying to keep his leg out of harm’s way, and that meant you could then settle into a length outside off.

Interesting bag of goodies. Apparently, he’ll be writing in the paper through the Ashes.

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