Rahul Dravid has great knowledge, will do a grand job for India: John Wright
- The former New Zealand skipper, who was India’s first foreign coach, points to Dravid’s experience as junior and India A coach as he starts as India head coach against the Kiwis
If not for the Covid-19 pandemic, John Wright would be in India now scouting for talent in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament in his role for Mumbai Indians. Though he is in Christchurch, the former New Zealand skipper will be glued to the action in India for the next three weeks following his national team’s short T20 and Test tour, starting on Wednesday. The ex-India coach will also be closely watching the proceedings as one of his former players, Rahul Dravid, begins his innings as India head coach.
The series was eagerly awaited because of how well New Zealand have played across formats under Kane Williamson. Wright called it one of the finest New Zealand sides ever in this chat. Excerpts:
It’s been a terrific run for New Zealand, not just T20 cricket they won the World Test Championship and reached the 2019 ODI World Cup final. What is it that is working so well for NZ cricket across formats?
We’ve got a lot of depth in our cricket at present, illustrated by our performances at the World Cup in the one-day competition and T20, and in Test cricket. It is a credit to the players, they did exceptionally well. It’s one of the finest teams we have had. A bit disappointed to lose, but they did brilliantly to make it to the final.
That (successful run) was obvious when a lot of these boys were playing at under-19 and under-17 levels and making their way. I had the privilege of working with some of them. It’s great to see them fulfilling the potential. Credit to the systems and the coaching, and the captaincy they have had over the last six-seven years.
NZ always produces good captains, from Geoff Howarth to Brendon McCullum and now Williamson? What’s the secret?
New Zealanders grow up playing team games; we always have an ability to play for each other. That’s important. A lot of us play winter sports and summer sports. New Zealanders are used to playing in teams from the point of view that the team comes first. In Kane Williamson, we are talking about a very special captain who leads by his performances with the bat and then his wisdom and humility shines through off the field as well. And there is a lot of cricket in this day and age with the IPL and that’s done some of our cricketers a lot of good.
Will you say Williamson is the best batsman across formats?
I don’t want to get into individuals but his innings the other day in the final was outstanding, it was very special. Kane came to India in 2011 with the World Cup team and batted at No 6-7. It is not an easy position to bat, but most times he was scoring more than run-a-ball. He is a street smart cricketer who makes very good decisions.
Dravid starts his innings as coach at the senior level. He played some of his best innings under you as coach. What are the qualities that you feel will help in his coaching role?
It is a wonderful appointment; he will do a grand job for India. He is very intelligent, knows the game really well. He has gained a lot of experience with the recent coaching he has done, at IPL, U-19 and India A level. He has great knowledge. Coaching is about helping your players develop, and at the international level help them get the results. Everyone wants that (results)… the players, the fans, so you just try and work on their behalf. He will do an outstanding job. But players win matches.
New Zealand-India has developed into a strong rivalry. NZ have got the better of India in both the World Cups, World Test Championship final and in the Test series at home…
When India tour New Zealand, New Zealand will start favourites and when New Zealand tour India, the home side start favourites. That’s the way cricket is. I’m sure we will have a great series with two of the best teams in world cricket at the moment playing. One of the things always aware to me is that India and New Zealand have quite a special relationship in many ways. Both teams are respected in each of our country, NZ are respected in India and India in NZ. It will be quite a challenge for NZ because they have to adapt to the conditions quickly with some of the boys coming into it from first-class cricket here.