Cricket round-up: Fletcher to take over as coach of India

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The Independent Online

Former England coach Duncan Fletcher has been appointed coach of India in succession to Gary Kirsten and his first series in charge is likely to be against England this summer.

Prior commitments mean that he is not expected to take up his two-year contract with the World Cup winners until after India's tour of the West Indies in June. India are in England the following month for four Tests and six one-day internationals.

Fletcher replaces South African Kirsten, who stepped down earlier this month after turning down an extension to his contract. The 62-year-old Zimbabwean won a record eight consecutive Tests for England in 2004 before guiding them to Ashes success in 2005. He faces a different challenge with an Indian team – currently top of the world Test rankings – that has no such self-doubt and is surrounded by a media circus that may test Fletcher's team ethos.

England's national selector Geoff Miller has joined the call for changes to the international schedule to avoid a repeat of the gruelling fixture list England faced this past winter.

England were ravaged by injuries during their three-and-a-half-month Ashes tour of Australia, which culminated in a marathon seven-match one-day series that was concluded just days before the start of the World Cup. The fixture pile-up has already drawn criticism from England coach Andy Flower and off-spinner Graeme Swann. "We can't have a situation like we did in the winter and I agree entirely with what Andy Flower has said about it," Miller said.

In the Championship yesterday, there were career-bests for Gareth Cross (125) and Luke Proctor (89) as Lancashire piled up 590 all out against Sussex, who struggled to 97 for 4 in reply at Hove.

With all-rounder Chris Woakes scoring 70, Warwickshire made 429 against Durham at Chester-le-Street despite five wickets for fast bowler Ruel Brathwaite. Durham openers Michael di Venuto and Will Smith put on 136 in reply before Smith fell to Woakes for 66, precipitating a decline to 227 for 5 in spite of a century from Di Venuto.