September 28, 2000

Simpson says he's the Wright man for the job

Former New Zealand opening batsman John Wright has been recommended as coach of India by former Australian captain and coach Bobby Simpson.

Writing in the Indian sports magazine The Sportstar, Simpson, a regular columnist for the publication said he was flattered to be considered himself for the role but his commitments would not allow him to take the job.

"I have been asked my views on a suitable coach and I would have no hesitation in recommending former New Zealand opener, John Wright. He is a passionate, caring but tough operator, who has a great knowledge," Simpson wrote.

"John Wright was a self made cricketer. He was not blessed with the natural skills of a Tendulkar or Ganguly and thus had to learn the basics to succeed. He did it with great tenacity, passion and a huge desire to succeed.

"His natural skills has provided a perfect background for coaching," Simpson said.

"Unlike many other gifted players, Wright had to learn the game inside out to succeed. This has given him great insight and understanding of the game and the ability to identify what is needed for others to succeed.

"It has also given him a tough but compassionate attitude to those under his care.

"As he has known the ups and downs and limitations of his own game, he is able to identify quickly what is needed in others. His love for cricket and kindliness should not be mistaken for softness," Simpson said.

During his Test match career which started in 1977 when he scored 55 in New Zealand's first innings of its first Test victory over England and which ended with New Zealand's five-wicket win over Simpson's Australian side at Eden Park in 1993, Wright scored 5334 runs at 37.82.

He also captained the side to three Test wins, including home and away wins over India.

In his first-class career for Derbyshire, Northern Districts, Canterbury and Auckland, Wright scored 25,073 runs at 42.35, including 59 centuries.

"His own struggles have given him the understanding and toughness to drive his charges when necessary.

"Retiring after a very successful stint with Derbyshire in English County [cricket] he entered coaching with the same single mindedness that highlighted his playing career.