Duncan Fletcher resigns

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Duncan Fletcher will stand down from his position as head coach after England's final game of the World Cup.

The Zimbabwean-born coach had been under increasing pressure to resign after England's poor performance in the Caribbean this spring.

Going into Saturday's final Super Eight clash with the West Indies – a game which is meaningless in terms of further progress in the competition – England have failed to beat any of the major Test-playing nations.

Their only victories have come against minnows Canada, Kenya, Ireland and Bangladesh and that poor return, coupled with the 5-0 Ashes whitewash in Australia earlier this year, has made Fletcher's position untenable.

And at a press conference this afternoon, it was announced by the England and Wales cricket board (ECB) that Fletcher would bring an end to his time in charge on Saturday.

"I always said that I would review my position as England coach nearer to the end of this winter," Fletcher said in a statement.

"Earlier in the World Cup I came to a decision about my future and I discussed stepping down as head coach with the ECB prior to England's game against Bangladesh [on April 10th].

"I feel it is in the team's best interests over the long term that I should move on and seek a new challenge elsewhere.

"This has been a difficult winter for the team and for me personally, but I believe that my record as coach over the past eight years is one in which I can take great pride.

"I would like to thank all the players and the management team for their contributions, the ECB for its support and for giving me the opportunity to coach England, and the England fans for their ongoing support."

Academy director Peter Moores is rumoured to be taking temporary control of the team ahead of the appointment of a full-time successor, which is expected to be before the beginning of the Test series against West Indies, which starts on May 17th.

Although England director of cricket operations John Carr said the appointment of Fletcher's full-time successor could be made as soon as the next 48 hours.

"We are not in a position to confirm anything, or rule anything out," he said.

Commenting on Fletcher's reign as head coach ECB chief executive David Collier commented: "[We] would like to formally put on record our grateful thanks to Duncan Fletcher for his outstanding service to cricket throughout England and Wales.

"He can be justifiably proud of [his] record [as head coach]. England's rise to number two in the ICC Test rankings is in no small measure due to his rigorous planning and excellent coaching skills.

Collier also said Fletcher was "instrumental" in introducing central contracts and that he will hand over "an excellent legacy for his successor".

"He leaves with our best wishes and genuine appreciation from ECB for his achievements," Collier added.

Fletcher was awarded the OBE after he guided England to a first Ashes series win in 18 years in 2005, but his stock has fallen significantly since.

The future of captain Michael Vaughan is also in doubt after the abject performance at the World Cup, although no obvious replacement is immediately apparent.

Fletcher first took control of the England side in June 1999 and has been largely credited with returning the nation to winning ways after years of ignominy on the cricket pitch.

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