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Fletcher poised to leave

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England are expected to end their vow of silence following their dismal World Cup exit today by signalling the end of Duncan Fletcher's eight-year reign as coach.

After being booed off the field in the aftermath of their nine wickets defeat to South Africa on Tuesday, which ended their hopes of reaching the semi-finals, England reacted to the public outcry at their display with silence.

Instead of Fletcher offering an explanation at another desperate performance, which has been the norm throughout their dreadful winter campaign, he chose to spend the day on the golf course.

But 48 hours after their abject defeat, England will finally face their public with England and Wales Cricket Board chairman David Morgan presenting himself to the media to answer questions over the future of Fletcher and captain Michael Vaughan.

Fletcher's future has come under increased scrutiny this winter after guiding England to an abject ICC Champions Trophy campaign, an Ashes whitewash and a dismal World Cup challenge while the majority of their tri-series in Australia was equally lamentable.

It has prompted increased calls for Fletcher to leave the post amid fears his control of the dressing room has been lost and his influence is waning as only one series victory in five since the 2005 Ashes suggests.

His one-day record is equally disappointing and yesterday's refusal to face his critics is likely to only alienate him further from a public who have tired from his stone-faced expression and continual selection blunders.

Morgan, a close ally of Fletcher's at Glamorgan, must surely recognise that his friend's position has become untenable and is expected to announce a parting of the ways.

The position of Vaughan has also become a source of debate after a career stretching 85 one-day internationals without a single century, while he took 20 balls to get off the mark before scoring a scratchy 17 against South Africa.

Vaughan is also expected to be replaced and encouraged to continue a Test career which has been put on hold ever since his right knee gave way on him in Pakistan a year ago and led to another operation and nearly all of 2006 on the sidelines.

The Yorkshire batsman has already called for a detailed look into their one-day strategy to try and make England more competitive at World Cups, where they have not reached the semi-finals since 1992.

Former England captain Ian Botham has urged the England and Wales Cricket Board to bring in Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody to replace the under-fire Fletcher.

Fletcher and skipper Michael Vaughan have come in for harsh criticism after the team slipped to a humiliating nine-wicket defeat to South Africa on Tuesday which ended their hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals.

The 41-year-old Australian Moody is Botham's choice to improve England's one-day fortunes after a performance in the Caribbean which he felt had 'stunk the place out'.

Botham said: 'Fletcher must go now. As the most powerful England coach of all-time - with the right to pull players out of county games and total control over the team's preparation - he must carry the can for this shambles.

'He has done a fantastic job in the past with the Test side and we will forever be grateful to him for the 2005 Ashes triumph, but Fletcher has gone way past his sell-by date.

'The next move is staring the ECB in the face: they should present Fletcher with the carriage clock, pay him off with heartfelt thanks for his contribution over the last eight years...and go out and hire Tom Moody as his replacement.

'Moody is a former World Cup winner with Australia, he has galvanised Sri Lanka and my guess is he'll be in the market for a job after the World Cup. Especially the England job.'
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