‘I’m no messiah for Kiwi cricket,’ says Coach Wright

Friday, December 24, 2010

WELLINGTON - The appointment of former New Zealand captain John Wright as the national team’s head coach came with a rush this week.

It was a follow-up to the team’s eleven consecutive defeats in one-day internationals that forced New Zealand Cricket’s hand.

Wright, however, rubbished the view that he was the messiah that New Zealand Cricket has been looking for.

“That’s nonsense. Sometimes you get the feeling a coach comes in, waves a wand and everything will be fine. It doesn’t work like that,” the New Zealand Herald quoted Wright, as saying.

He added: “What coaches need is good players, and I think coaching is very simple.”

“[Former Australian coach] Bob Simpson taught me years and years ago. He said coaching is about helping your batters learn to score more runs, helping bowlers to try to understand how to take more wickets and fielders to become better at catching and saving runs.”

Talk to people who know Wright and you get a common response. Essentially the picture is of a good bloke, who loves his cricket, loves his sport and loves his country.

There is another side to him, which New Zealand players will see in the coming months. Underneath the amiable exterior, he is one tough competitor.

Wright remains one of New Zealand’s most successful batsmen, but unlike some of the others - Bert Sutcliffe, Martin Crowe and Stephen Fleming - he wasn’t blessed with special talent.

Certainly he had some, or he wouldn’t have lasted 82 tests, made 5334 runs - still third highest for New Zealand - at 37.82 and hit 12 hundreds (not to forget two 99s and a 98).

He made sure he wrung every drop out of himself.

He says: “If you achieve certain goals, winning looks after itself. Whether it’s as a player or coach, at international level you’ve got to have a hard edge, that attitude that ‘we’re going to take them apart.”

On the recent losses, Wright’s argument is the players haven’t changed substantially from a well-performed team last year.

He said that he would adopt a step-by-step approach to turn things around for the team.

Wright made it plain there’s only one leader and that’s Dan Vettori.

“On the field he’s the man; off it, I’ll try and take that load off him so he can concentrate on working at his game, communicating with his players and thinking about strategy.”

“I don’t expect it to be a bed of roses. In six months maybe I won’t be listening to talkback radio,” he laughed. (ANI)

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