3. Duncan Fletcher (2011-2015)
Duncan Fletcher, the Former Zimbabwean cricketer, was appointed as coach of the Indian side on April 27, 2011. Right from the start of his tenure, the bar had been set very high by the outgoing coach Gary Kirsten, who had won the 2011 ODI World Cup for India as his last contribution.
Although 2012 started on a low, Fletcher led the team to its first bilateral series win in England after 24 years. 2011-2012 was a nightmare period for India in Tests. After whitewashes at the hands of both England and Australia, India was left huffing and puffing. 2012 also started badly, with India losing a Test series at home to England for the first time in 28 years.
However, India scripted a dramatic turnaround in the 2012-13 season, in both ODIs and Tests. After ‘ brownwashing’ Australia at home in the 5-match Border-Gavaskar Test series, India went on to win every ODI Tournament in 2013, including the ICC Champions Trophy, two Celkon Mobile Cups, and a seven-match home series against the Aussies. With skipper M.S. Dhoni, Fletcher led India to the No.1 spot in the ICC ODI Team Rankings.
2014 saw the wane of Fletcher’s career as coach, as India was thwarted by both England and Australia on foreign tours. After embarrassing defeats to the same teams in the ODI series as well, India wasn’t at all expected to do well in the 2015 ODI World Cup. Although Fletcher’s men made a searing comeback, bowling out seven teams in a row, his tenure ended with a tame loss against Australia in the World Cup 2015 semifinal.
2. John Wright (2000–2005)
John Wright was India’s first foreign coach and was appointed in the year 2000. Even in his very successful tenure as Team India’s coach, few moments would remain etched in every fan’s memory as much as the famous 2001 Test victory against Australia in Kolkata under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly, after India was made to follow on. This particular victory ended Austalia’s unbeaten 16-match record streak in Tests.
Wright enjoyed a glorious coaching career with India, from 2000 to 2005, during which time the team improved immensely, winning a home Test series 2–1 against Australia, drawing a test series against Australia in Australia 1–1 in a four-match contest in 2003–04, winning a series against arch-rivals Pakistan, and reaching the final of the 2003 ODI World Cup Final in South Africa.
The 2003 performance was India’s best in a World Cup since the1983 victory. The team seemed to have gained renewed vigour under Wright’s coaching methods, and all departments were firing simultaneously for the Men in Blue.
The later stages of Wright’s tenure saw a dip in performances, compounded by the unhappy tenure of Greg Chapell that followed.