Former Indian coach John Wright has spoke on India’s preparations and chances ahead of the World Cup and the future of Indian cricket in Delhi where he is on a Talent Search programme ahead of the 2015 IPL. Here is what he had to say:
On India’s key players in the World Cup:
I pick Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as India’s key players in the World Cup. The most encouraging sign about Kohli is that he has performed (as a captain). It is very difficult to lead the side if you are not performing. Captaincy is like coaching. The more you do it, the more you learn. The impressive thing about him is that he leads with performance. Even though Rohit did not have a good time in the Test series, I back him to do well in the World Cup. He is a special talent and cannot be taken lightly by the opposition. I know what he can do. He is a match winner and beautiful to watch.
On India dropping the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag for the World Cup:
I heard he (Yuvraj) is doing well in domestic cricket. If you drop a player like him, you just hope those who get the opportunity perform. He is a serious player. I am sure it (his selection) created a lot of discussion at the selection meeting.
On India’s preparation for the World Cup:
That team had been playing together for a longer period of time. This team is more unknown. Batting wise it looks as exciting as the one in 2011. Dhoni has had more leadership experience in one-day cricket. But a lot will depend on taking those early wickets and holding on to the catches. There will be two new white balls (in each innings), you want to take advantage of that. You want to be taking wickets, otherwise the game runs away from you.
On India’s poor Test record overseas:
We had a great decade from 2000 and Gary (Kirsten) carried on taking the team to the number one Test side. So they proved they can do it. Sometimes it goes in circles. You only have to look at the Australian team. It had such a fantastic bunch of players and when they retired it struggled. Generally you can’t improve in Tests in a short span of time. It often takes up to five years to master the format. I see the Indian batting to be even stronger in the two years, but they have to find a way to take 20 wickets.
His favourites for World Cup:
To begin with, the New Zealand team has been playing some exciting cricket. We have got Brendon (McCullum) performing brilliantly and have Kane (Willamson) and Ross (Taylor) in top form. The young bowlers have done well especially seamers. You look all the teams on paper and you tend to go with the home teams, Australia and New Zealand in this case. It was the same when India won and it will be a challenge for them along with the likes of Pakistan, England, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
On his return as the coach at the end of 2015 World Cup:
I heard they were talking about Michael Hussey too. I think there will be a lot of names doing the rounds. I am probably in the too old basket.