Dunking Fletcher: 10 things you should know

21:32, Nov 29 2010

The sieve that is New Zealand Cricket sprung another leak on Sunday morning as Aaron Lawton unveiled the news that hard-ass Duncan Fletcher was set to start cracking some heads in the high performance unit in Christchurch.

The appointment was confirmed on Monday after some needless ducking and weaving at the weekend ("...a spokesperson confirmed a release on the use of a specialist consultant would be made public in the coming days").

Anyway, here are the 10 things you need to know about Big Dunc that didn't make the cut in the media release...

1. The NZ cricketers are in for some interesting times.

Some of the adjectives bandied about in relation to the man include ruthless, sanguine, cranky, self-righteous, confident, terse, sullen and obdurate.

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He has also had run-ins with a platoon of players, fish-heads and commentators including Boycott, Botham, Rod Marsh, Gavaskar and even poor old Henry Blofeld.

On the bright side, he is on record as being strongly supportive of managing workloads rather than flogging players to death (well, flogging them into sub-par performances anyway) on the domestic circuit.

2. Australians hated him in 2005.

He was embroiled in one of cricket's great controversies when he was England coach and smiled from the balcony as Ricky Ponting was run out by substitute fielder Gary Pratt at Nottingham in 2005.

Check out this 'The Punter Pratted' video for a neat summary in which the Tasmanian devil takes his toys out of the sandpit and up the pavilion steps before apparently calling Fletcher "a f****ing cheat". As Fletcher said soon after: "If you take a risky single and get run out, you would be frustrated."

3. Australians hate him in 2010 as well.

He recently penned an opinion piece in The Guardian which has rarked the Strayans up no end: "Every signal the Australians are sending out speaks of the confusion in their camp and the breakdown in their planning for this series. It all makes you wonder exactly where Australian cricket is at the moment. You have to go back more than 30 years...to find the last time the team were in such a muddled state."

 

4. He turned down Mark Greatbatch's current job.

5. The Black Caps job might sound tough but is nothing compared to some of the things he has done before. As well as being in the army, he also devised Zimbabwe's car registration system.

6. He has claimed that the  umpire decision referral system being used willy-nilly around the cricketing globe emerged from his Rhodesian-born brain. At best that claim is arguable - and bizarrely a Sri Lankan lawyer is set to take the ICC to court in order to have himself recognised as the "UDRS inventor."

7. He was famously awarded British citizenship in the wake of coaching the Poms to their 2005 Ashes triumph.

Despite falling foul of the qualification rules, the immigration minister intervened after a hue and cry after the Brazilian boyfriend of a Labour politician was gained British citizenship with comparative ease. Backbencher Gerald Howarth said at the time: "I wonder who the public would feel has done more for this country - the man behind a glorious summer of cricket, or Mr Mandelson's escort?"

 

8. He was Zimbabwe's inaugural one-day captain.

He did a great job too - scoring 69 from 84 balls and taking 4/42 from 11 overs to beat Australia in an extraordinary performance and catalyse a monstrous upset at the 1983 World Cup. It was Zimbabwe's first official ODI.

Read John Ward's fantastic piece on the game over on Cricinfo, sample quote: "There was a crowd of perhaps between five and ten thousand, containing quite a number of Zimbabweans...There were only about twenty or thirty of them, but they were waving the Zimbabwean flag and giving constant vocal encouragement to their team. One of them apparently made a small fortune by gambling 100 pounds on a Zimbabwean victory at odds of about 200-1, and he treated the team royally in the bar afterwards."

 

9. He coined an unrepeatable Joel Monaghan-esque phrase to describe a player's level of courage, commitment, spirit and desire.

10. His nickname, presumably unwanted, is Duncan Donuts.