Mumbai, Apr 27 : Duncan Fletcher was today appointed India's cricket coach to replace the highly successful Gary Kirsten, ending weeks of suspense on who will take over the high-profile job.
The 62-year-old Zimbabwean, a coached England with mixed results from 1999 to 2007, will take over the job for a two-year period.
The decision to appoint Fletcher, whose name was doing the rounds as a possible successor to Kirsten, was taken at the BCCI's working committee meeting here. The announcement came as a surprise as the BCCI had given no indication that it would name the coach today itself.
"The contract with Fletcher is for two years. He may not join the team in the West Indies as he has some prior commitments," BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan told reporters after the meeting.
Eric Simmons, who was the bowling coach during Kirsten's tenure, will continue in the same position, Srinivasan said.
Fletcher, who captained Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup and played just six one-dayers during the African nation's pre-Test days, had mixed fortunes as coach for England.
The high points of his career was England's Ashes triumph over Australia in the home series of 2005, England's first series win in West Indies in 36 years and taking England to the third spot in Test rankings.
Fletcher has a tough job ahead of him as he replaces the amiable South African Kirsten, who set a high benchmark for the Indian team and completed his stint with the memorable World Cup triumph earlier this month.
With Kirsten at helm, India reached the pinnacle of Test rankings and number two in the ODI list after conjuring up memorable wins and draws in series abroad. He relinquished the job to spend more time with his family.
Fletcher was the first foreigner to coach England's cricket team, a stint that had its share of highs and lows.
Known to be a strict task-master, Fletcher guided England to eight straight Test wins during his stint.
The biggest moment for him came in 2005 when England upstaged a star-studded Australian team to win the Ashes for the first time since 1987.
The Zimbabwean was honoured by Britain's Royalty with an OBE before England's form slid and his position came under the scanner.
England managed to draw series in India and Pakistan but the 0-5 whitewash in the 2006-07 Ashes series in Australia led to widespread criticism of Fletcher, who refused to step down at that stage.
But England's early exit from the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies ended any chances of him holding on to the post and he put in his papers. PTI