In partnership first with Nasser Hussain and then Michael Vaughan, Fletcher took England from the bottom of the pile to second in the Test rankings. Series were won in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and South Africa, and of course England also triumphed over Australia in the truly historic 2005 Ashes.
But ODI cricket and especially World Cups. Why would Fletcher deserve hero status for that?
With England he doesn’t. Fletcher never fully cracked the 50 over format as a coach and England’s performances in the 2003 and 2007 tournaments over which he presided were nothing to write home about.
No, we have to go back to our childhood to explain why Fletcher is a World Cup hero.
Rewind back to the 1983 tournament and Zimbabwe are about to play its first international match ever against a powerful looking Australian side at Trent Bridge.
No-one gave Zimbabwe much chance and with the likes of Lillee, Border, Hughes, Marsh and Thomson in the visitors dressing room that was hardly a surprise.
But Zimbabwe’s skipper Fletcher, showing some of the steely determination that was later the hallmark of his coaching, decided to impersonate Gary Sobers for a day.
With the bat, he stroked a quickfire unbeaten 69 to lead his side to a competitive 239 for six and he then took the first four Australian wickets to fall as the Baggy Greens stumbled to ignominious defeat.
Unfortunately neither The Reverse Sweep nor our father was the punter in the crowd who reportedly bet £100 on a Zimbabwean victory at odds of 200/1, but all the same this was a game that will forever resonate in our cricketing brain.
For embarrassing the hun, Duncan Fletcher is a deserving World Cup hero.
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