'You don't need the best attack to win'

World Cup 2015: Former coach John Wright says India will be competitive Down Under

'You don't need the best attack to win'

Mild-tempered, humble and articulate, John Wright will always be remembered as the man who took Indian cricket to great heights. During his tenure the team became a force to reckon with and reached the finals of the 2003 World Cup.

With a new edition of the mega event now round the corner, and co-hosted by his native New Zealand, Wright is sought after in the country for his insights. He believes the current World Cup to be an “open” one.

The 60-year-old coach is currently involved in scouting players for Mumbai Indians. New Delhi was his abode this week where he spent time watching the Ranji Trophy matches even as he talked about his love for India, which had struck him as a “sleeping giant” when he arrived on its shores as its first foreign coach. The rest, as they say, is history.

The current Indian side might not have the big names of his 2003 bunch or the 2011 World Cup winning one, but for Wright India remain a competitive one-day side. Despite their weak bowling attack, that received much flak during the just concluded Test series in Australia, Wright insisted that one didn’t need to have the best attack to win the World Cup.

“In Tests, India were struggling because they couldn’t take 20 wickets. But in one-day cricket you don’t need to take 10 wickets and can still win. You just need to score one run more. If you have got a good attack it always helps, but you don’t need the best attack in the world to win the World Cup. Sometime some teams bowl badly but bat well and still win games of cricket, don’t they?”  Wright said.

Wright said India have got “ideal preparation” for the World Cup by playing in the one-day series in Australia.

“They are playing against Australia in Australia with England being another team. That’s the ideal preparation for the World Cup. You are up against tough teams in the conditions that you are going to playing in,” he said.

“I would imagine they are going into the one-day series a lot more confident than in the Test series because they have been playing very good one day cricket. They now just  need to get their combinations going, play well as a team and  build some confidence with some good cricket going into the World Cup. India are a very good batting side.

They need to get their bowling combination sorted, and if they are sharp in fielding, they would be very competitive.”

Wright’s face lit up while speaking about the excitement back home in hosting the World Cup along with Australia.  With New Zealand throwing up some exciting performances off-late, it has only added to the euphoria. It was in 1992 when the event last took place Down Under and Wright, the left-handed opener, was the part of the group that reached the semifinals.  “We had come close and had a great run but lost to Pakistan,” he smiled and went on to add, “New Zealand are playing some good cricket in their home conditions. But I feel it is a very open World Cup. Australia and South Africa on paper look very strong.

“The rankings might show Australia and South Africa being up there but there is not one team that has completely dominated the one-day cricket recently.  That is why every team got to think that whoever is going to play good cricket, they are going to win it.”
Apart from their big grounds, the pitches in Australia and New Zealand are expected to be full with runs and Wright believed the bowlers would have to cash in on the two new white balls in helpful conditions.  “You would like to take advantage of that and take early wickets or you could be chasing 300 plus runs,” he signed off.

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