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Wisden Cricinfo staff
November 16, 2004
John Wright, the Indian coach, has admitted that the team need to show more determination and hunger to get out of their current rut and rediscover their winning ways. In an exclusive with Mid Day, a Mumbai-based tabloid, Wright expressed disappointment with India's form this season, especially in the one-day internationals - India have only won five of their last 13 completed ODIs, but three of those victories came against Bangladesh, UAE and Kenya.
"Our one-day form has been disappointing. We need to take another look at the balance of the side and consistency of individual performances -- just a whole overview of getting back to some of the things we were doing well. Also, [we need to] make some decisions with an eye to the future particularly with people who you need to take forward until 2007 [the year of the next World Cup]."
Taking stock of the disappointing performances so far this season, Wright hinted that it might be time for a few changes: "There are a lot of people who want to play for India and if people are not performing well, then they should not stay because of reputation or whatever reasons."
Wright conceded that the season hadn't started the way he had expected it to, and admitted that his place as coach could be on the line if performances didn't improve soon. "I aimed to lift things by 10% after the Australia and Pakistan tours. I am very disappointed personally that we have not achieved that. We have lost 10% and maybe more. I want to get that 10%. If I cannot get that, then someone else deserves a turn."
Scoffing at the view that the Indian team was being judged too harshly, Wright was all praise for the fans and the media. "We have the best fans in the world. They and the media quite rightly demand fighting performances. Personally, I can cope with defeats but when I see carelessness, lack of effort on and off the field, it is hard to tolerate. When we lose, we must play hard cricket. That's what we did in the Mumbai Test. I thought they fought really well. We have to get back to that."
He shied away from commenting on specific players, or about the allegation that the players had been distracted by their commercial obligations, but spoke about the perils of fame for an Indian cricketer: "Success can be viewed as an enemy. It is one of the challenges of being an Indian cricketer. The hype, fame and love is here but it must not detract from your hunger or give you a comfort zone."
So what did Wright expect from the Indian team in the forthcoming series against South Africa? "I want us to have this attitude of getting the results we want by showing discipline to achieve our goals. We must have absolute determination and hunger to win. We are up against a side that will show a lot of commitment and character. It is going to be a tough series and we have to match it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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