If one has to pick one of the best coaches the Indian team has ever had, it has to be John Wright, the man who worked with legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid. A man under whom Indian team surprised everyone by qualifying for the final of the 2003 World Cup and a man who saw the best part of Indian cricket in this century comprising of Fab Four, Anil Kumble-Harbhajan Singh and the trio of Zaheer Khan, Javgal Srinath and Ashish Nehra.
John Wright, while speaking to DNA, recalled the time he spent with the Indian team, and termed it as a wonderful experience:
“The older you get, the faster time goes. It seems a fair amount of time has passed between now and then. I came back in 2013 to work with Mumbai Indians (as head coach), that’s been great. That has been a wonderful experience to come back here and be part of IPL, which I really enjoy. Now, my role in identifying talent, watching Indian domestic cricket in all forms, going to the grounds, meeting the players and the administrators. I really enjoy and makes you realise how lucky you are to have that opportunity.”
Yuvraj Singh and Parthiv Patel made their debut when John Wright was the coach of Indian team and with them making their comeback after a long period, Wright said it’s their desire to play for country that has worked for them.
“Because you know players and worked with them, you always want them to do well. Whoever they are and whatever they are doing. It is lovely to see them still playing, and playing well. I knew the quality of them when they were young. Now, with more mature age, they have not lost their desire, enthusiasm and love for cricket. Both had their challenges. We all know the struggles Yuvi has faced and overcome. That is just very special. It is not just a sporting story but a wonder story of human spirit.”
Talking about Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who recently relinquished the post of captain from the limited-overs format, Wright said now he has the freedom to express himself freely. He also recalled one of his best innings that Dhoni played during his early career.
“My early experience with MS was at a camp and he was always a very good listener. His first innings I can recall was he got 148 in Vizag (vs Pakistan, ODI). He made someone like (Virender) Sehwag look rather pedestrian, which took a lot of doing. He had great game awareness, awareness of his leadership abilities and not only his cricketing abilities. His sense of timing in making decisions, whatever they are, have been great. I am looking forward to watching him play. He is still enjoying his cricket. He can enjoy it now more as he has got the freedom to express himself. It will be very good for the team.”
“The coach and captain or anyone involved, Virat has the right people around the team. Hope he will leave a little better when he finishes than when he found it. He has got big shoes to fill, he has made a wonderful start. I love his emphasis on fitness. He looks so sharp and full of energy. The structure is really good, right from the selection, through to Rahul Dravid and Paras Mhambrey in the U-19 team. He is fortunate to have Rahul to interact with in ‘A’ team and, of course, Anil Kumble. It is a very strong structure and hopefully, people understand and value it to keep that quality going. It will only be very good for Indian cricket.
John Wright is currently working with Mumbai Indians and has already reached India to spot new talent in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, the domestic T20 tournament of Indian cricket. Wright is the one who is credited to be the man to spot Jasprit Bumrah’s talent in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in 2013, and then signing him with Mumbai Indians.