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Wright taking the India in right direction

Coach John Wright played cricket with passion and intensity during his playing days and has strived to inculcate these qualities in the Indian team.
PTI | By MR Mishra (PTI), Islamabad
PUBLISHED ON APR 17, 2004 05:26 PM IST

Coach John Wright played cricket with passion and intensity during his playing days and has strived to inculcate these qualities in the Indian cricket team which, he believes, has the potential to become world beaters.

A silent worker who believes in keeping a low profile, Wright has changed the face of Indian cricket during his tenure as the coach and is happy that all the hard work put in by the team has begun to show results.

The Indian cricketers have a lot of respect for the Kiwi ever since he took over the job and never hesitate to acknowledge his contribution in the development of the team, particularly in the area of fitness.

The historic Test series triumph over arch-rivals Pakistan is a tribute to Wright's work ethics and his emphasis on discpline but the former New Zealand opener gives all the credit to the players, saying that they had done all the hard work and deserve the success more than anybody.

"This is obviously a big thing for the boys. They had worked hard and deserve this success. It means a lot to them. I am sure they will keep this habit going," Wright said.

Wright said the tour of Pakistan was very important for the team and motivation was never a problem for his boys since any match against the arch-rivals was "special".

"It is a big thing, Indian cricket has always been sort of big to me anyway. There was a lot of fanfare in India over the one-day series win. It's hard to get a feeling, but it means a lot," Wright said.

The coach said he had now a better knowledge of the passion surrounding the India-Pakistan series and said such healthy rivalries were bound to raise the standard of the game.

"Probably from a historic point of view, there is a little more edge to this series. Every country, for whatever reason, seems to have its natural rival. But I must admit the series has been played in fantastic spirit.

"There has been hard cricket, you can see the effort from both sets of players going in for the one-dayers and Tests. We can see it's tough cricket, but the manner in which it has been played has been exemplary. You can't fault the teams, it's a great advertisement for India and Pakistan," he said.

Wright was confident that his young team was moving in the right direction although there was still a lot of scope for improvement.

"We are playing quite well as a team. I feel when you pick teams, you must always judge the temperament and the character of people.

"Hopefully, we will continue to keep playing better as a team. The boys mix very well. I wouldn't say we are there but hopefully, we are heading in the right direction," he said.

"Their confidence comes from within, they have the desire, they know what it's like to win. They need to win big sometimes, and this series win is another experience for them. We know if we can achieve our game plans and the small targets that we set for ourselves, then that gives us a better chance for victory," Wright said.

He said the motivational level and the spirit of the team can be judged by the way the players react on the field.

"The easiest way to judge the motivational level is by how the team reacts on the field, and I don't think you can fault us, to be honest. It has been our best fielding effort over a prolonged period of five games. You can see the motivation in the fielding."

He said that he has always believed that a player had to be motivated enough to succeed at the highest level.

"I have always been interested in the motivation of the players. I never thought motivation would be a problem on this tour, and it isn't on other tours either, but certainly, here there is an intensity that comes with a natural desire to succeed."

Wright also heaped a lot of praise on his support staff like physio Andrew Leipus and trainer Gregory King who have helped the team remain fit.

"They have also worked very hard to keep the players fit and drive home the importance of fitness to be able to succeed at the highest level. The players have also responded very well. I would say it has been a great team work. They have supported the players working behind the scene and I can say the fitness level has improved a lot," he said.

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