John Geoffrey Wright
July 05, 1954, Darfield, Canterbury
Left hand bat
Right arm medium
Even before he embarked on the second leg of his career, as a hard-driven and hugely respected coach of India, John Wright was already renowned for his fighting qualities, allied to no little skill, that had enabled him to become the first New Zealand batsman to pass 4000 Test runs.
A left-hand opening batsman with a sound defensive technique and a full array of strokes, Wright was an integral member of the 1980s New Zealand team that achieved notable overseas successes against England and Australia, and his century against Sri Lanka in 1990-91 meant that he scored a hundred against all six of his Test opponents (South Africa, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh later returned or joined the fold). It was the one that got away that was perhaps the most memorable, however. At Christchurch in 1991-92, he was one away from what should have been a match-saving century, when he charged down the pitch at Phil Tufnell, and was stumped. Tufnell proceeded to scythe through the lower order, and England won by an innings and four runs with just minutes of the match to spare.
After his playing career, Wright took to coaching, first with Kent, and then taking on a far-more high-profile job as coach of India. It was a tough task, but he gained plenty of goodwill for the honesty and effort he brought into the task. He forged an excellent partnership with Sourav Ganguly, and their partnership brought India some famous victories, most notably against Australia in Kolkata in 2001, a series win in Pakistan and away Test wins in England and Australia. A five-year gap followed the end of his stint with India in 2005, and in December 2010 Wright was appointed New Zealand's coach. That stint lasted less than two years, the highlights of which was New Zealand's first Test win in Australia in 26 years, in Hobart in December 2011, and reaching the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup. However, New Zealand then lost series to South Africa and West Indies, and with differences emerging with John Buchanan, the director of cricket for Cricket New Zealand, Wright quit the job in July 2012.
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