Free Press Journal

Good start crucial for India: John Wright


John Wright

New Delhi : Former India coach John Wright feels that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men can do well in the cricket World Cup beginning on Saturday and a difficult build-up to the showpiece event would not matter much if they regain confidence by having a good start.

The Indian ODI team has been struggling for some time as they lost in New Zealand last year and then in Australia in the recent tri-series but Kiwi Wright, who was India coach from 2000 to 2005, said self-belief and determination would also count a lot in a tournament where there are no clear favourites.

“I am not in the (Indian) team now and so the critical thing is how the things are going inside the team. You might have an experienced team but may have bad results. But to be honest, every nation taking part in the World Cup will begin from the same position. There are teams which have been doing well and so would be favourites and others which might not have a good build-up,” he said.

“Happiness in the team, self-belief and determination are also important. India has a tough build-up going into the World Cup but provided they have the determination and belief, they can do well and they need a good start, that is crucial.

The opening game (against Pakistan) is going to be very important for India, it’s a big game,” he told ‘ESPNcricinfo’. Wright said the marquee clash against Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15 would be a fantastic opportunity for the Indian youngsters to come up with something special.

“Everyone has to embrace the moment and enjoy the challenge. You have been selected to represent your country and you are getting the opportunity to play your main rival (Pakistan). That is a fantastic opportunity for the young players and the team get the right result.

“Great players and great teams really looked forward to those big matches and they know it’s a wonderful opportunity to do something special,” said the former New Zealand captain.

Wright said the Indian team under him, which finished runners-up in the 2003 World Cup, also had a difficult build-up by losing an ODI series in New Zealand just before the mega event but still reached the final as the side had the self-belief and determination.

“In 2003, the team went into the World Cup after a tough tour of New Zealand. It was also due to circumstances, the wickets there (in New Zealand) were green and it was one of those bad tours.

“But there was determination and self-belief within the team to do well in the World Cup. The team was not at its best but quite confident of doing well in the (2003) World Cup. That was a tough fighting unit,” he said.

Asked about fitness issues about the Indian bowlers who were also struggling recently, Wright said, “You will have systems in place to get to the bottom of these and I think key decisions will have to be made that who is going to be fit in time for the tournament and how much time it will take for him to recover.”

On the issue of Ravi Shastri being the Team Director and head coach Duncan Fletcher having to report to him, Wright said, “That situation has been for some time now and nothing is going to change during the World Cup. And I am sure from their point of view that issue is the least of anyone’s worry.

Basically, everyone has his role. The job is to play the best for your country and win as may games as possible.”