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Wright pushes NZ to get it right

cricket Updated: Feb 12, 2011 00:15 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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Even before the New Zealand cricketers took the field for their first practice session in India for the World Cup, their coach John Wright was busy chatting with the ground staff and net bowlers, collecting inputs.

The 56-year-old Kiwi could stake claim for an honorary Indian citizenship following his contribution as the national coach; and he knows the recipe for success in the sub-continent.

So it did not come as a surprise when skipper Daniel Vettori emphasised the value of having Wright on their side. "I think John will be a very important asset for us in this campaign given his experience here.

"He knows the conditions here very well and his inputs on how to tackle them would be valuable," he said after the team's hour-long net session at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground in Jamtha. Wright was seen instructing every net bowler before a new batsman came to bat.

The Black Caps come into the tournament on the back of a forgettable season. They have lost 14 of their last 16 ODIs that include a 4-0 hammering in Bangladesh and a 5-0 whitewash in India.

Wright, who guided India to the 2003 World Cup final, was roped in as New Zealand coach in December to stem the rot. And the team managed to end an 11-match losing streak, during the home series against Pakistan last month, which they lost 3-2.

"We can take a lot of positives from the victory in the last match. And we would like to take that confidence into the two warm-up games," he said.

The Kiwis face Ireland in their first warm-up game here on Saturday. Vettori and Wright look at the tie as preparation for the bigger challenge against group rivals Australia at the same venue later in the month.

"He (Wright) knows people here and have contacted a lot of them to find out what to expect in terms of scores and playing conditions and that will come in handy for us," Vettori added.

If New Zealand's first training session and Vettori's mood was anything to go by, then Wright's skills as a motivator - which he showed in abundance during his five-year stint with India - could prove to be the key factor in determining how far New Zealand progress in this tournament.