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July 31, 2006
John Wright's relations with Sourav Ganguly might have turned bit rocky towards the end of his stint as the India's coach but he retains lots of respect and appreciation for Ganguly.
"He [Ganguly] was a special man," Wright was quoted as saying in the New Zealand Herald. "He wore his heart on his sleeve and there was an arrogance that used to get up people's noses. But I think that was good for us, it was good to have that feistiness as the country learned it was becoming such a powerhouse in world cricket.
"I tested him [Ganguly] and he tested me but there was an inner trust between us. He would often do things which were the opposite to what we had talked about, which always kept me on my toes, but there was a bond that grew, despite how different we were. And we were always a really happy side."
Wright makes a rather surprising revelation about the Indian team's attitude to fielding. "It took me about a year to convince them that running between the wickets and fielding were quite important in one-dayers," he said. "We had a pretty strict regime when it came to training and I was probably almost too tough on them." Did he ever attempt to coach Sachin Tendulkar, the master batsman? "I didn't coach Sachin Tendulkar," said Wright. "I gave him gentle advice when he asked for it."
He reveals that he didn't have a contract for nearly half his tenure but was well supported by the management in BCCI. "I actually didn't have a contract for about 40% of the time but it didn't really matter because they were honourable people. I got paid every three months so that was the length of time I'd allow myself to look ahead. It was satisfying that I lasted so long, I certainly didn't expect to walk away on my own terms, but I proved I could survive and proved that a foreigner could do the job."
Wright looks back at his Indian stint with lots of fondness. "It was probably the biggest adventure I will ever have in my life," he gushed. "I miss that thrill of getting on that team bus and going to a big game, with the crowds clapping you all the way to the ground ..."
Talking about his future plans and in particular about coaching New Zealand, Wright said, "People always ask me about coaching New Zealand," he said. "Who knows? I wouldn't rule it out. I would like to help New Zealand Cricket in some way and be involved in competitive sport, whatever code that might be. It depends what crops up."
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A collection of fine cricket writing on great cricket feats, and never mind the omissions
Plays of the Day from the first ODI between South Africa and India in Johannesburg