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October 8, 2005
With the matches so far being rather one-sided, the ICC Super Series seems to be facing a credibility crisis of sorts, at least among critics and the general public. However, John Wright, the World XI coach, said the series offered a unique contest for international cricketers and hoped the ICC would not dump it despite two consecutive defeats for the World team.
"The media will judge it on the results, but I have seen how much enjoyment the players have had, they enjoy meeting each other, discussing things and having a meal together," he was quoted as saying by AFP. "The losses are hard to take because we've got big pride, but I have seen a lot of enjoyment and interaction between the players, and from that point of view it's been excellent.
"Some of the cricket we saw yesterday was outstanding, so it does give a platform for something a bit unique and a bit different, as long as it is not overdone, say hold it every four years."
After the Australians whipped the World XI in the two one-dayers by 93 and 55 runs, respectively, there has been talk of the whole idea being canned. The one-day series now goes to a dead rubber on Sunday, with only pride on the line for the beaten World team, ahead of next week's six-day Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Apart from Kumar Sangakkara, Chris Gayle and Andrew Flintoff with the bat and spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori, the World team's performance so far has been truly disappointing. There have been signs of lack of cohesion and of clear-cut player responsibilities within the team.
Wright, the former coach of India, said a lack of motivation was certainly not the reason for the defeats. "The passion is there. Because of who they are and where they've come from and the team meetings we've had, the (passion) is certainly there."
He also claimed that all was not lost. "It's that same old empty feeling that you do experience when you don't come out at the right end of the game, so the big thing is tomorrow's match is important because the challenge of the series has gone and you will be able to judge us from that point of view. We can't drop off that easily.
"It is utterly no sense of being a junket. There is too much professionalism in this team. We just need a couple of big performances."
Meanwhile, Australian allrounder Andrew Symonds said the widespread criticism of the Australian's team's Ashes performance had stung the players to hit back on the field. "We're a proud side, we don't like to be beaten. Some of the things that have been written have stirred the boys up to the betterment of the team," he said on Saturday. "It was a case of don't be ashamed of what happened and let's learn from it and use it as our next challenge."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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