Shortly after scoring his maiden Test century in only his second match, Tim McIntosh, New Zealand's new opening batsman, has credited former captain John Wright for fine-tuning his game. Wright, who coached India for five years, is currently New Zealand Cricket's elite coaching manager and works with the national team in the build-up to matches.
McIntosh shrugged off a nervous debut in Dunedin against West Indies where he looked uncomfortable against the short ball but he responded strongly in Napier with a patient 136. He was brought in to the side to solve New Zealand's top-order problems and his ability to stick around for long periods has lent stability to the batting in this series. His 455-minute stint featured 21 fours, several of them peppering the deep point region.
"John Wright has certainly helped in the last week or two," McIntosh was quoted as saying in the Dominion Post. "Being a left-hander, he has got alongside me with a bit of knowledge. He hasn't changed anything - he's just offered experience about what they might bowl at me. He's refined my game and made sure I have ticked off things."
McIntosh was lucky to be let off on 14 when a skied pull off Fidel Edwards fell between the bowler and the wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
"You don't expect that sort of thing not to be caught, so I was pretty happy to take the opportunity," McIntosh said. "If anything it made me guts it out more and made me think I have to make these guys pay. Initially, I had no idea where the ball was. I thought it had gone behind the keeper."
McIntosh was watched by his parents at McLean Park and when he finally reached three figures after a nervous spell in the 90s, he controlled his emotions.
"I was elated. Maybe I didn't show much emotion but I was happy inside," he said. 'There was a sense of relief in a way, having played and missed on 99."