The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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That hunger missing: Wright

Napier: India coach John Wright said on Sunday he thought his team has lost some of their hunger and intensity during a demanding year.

India, who lost both matches in the two-Test series against New Zealand, were beaten by 35 runs in the second one-day International Sunday. New Zealand lead 2-0 in the seven-match series.

“I want to see us get back to the level we know we can achieve,” Wright told reporters after the match. “Everything was in our favour. We won the toss, the wicket was good, the target was achievable and we got another batsman in form, and yet we lost.”

The former New Zealand opener was asked if he could explain what had happened to a team which had performed admirably over the past year.

“It’s puzzling and I’m trying to work it out because this is not the team that performed pretty consistently for a period of nine or 10 months really and from a personal point of view I was keen for that form to continue here,” he replied.

“We really haven’t played with the hunger and intensity we showed earlier in the year. I think that eagerness and energy has been lost. You begin to have a couple of losses and your confidence goes.”

“We needed to be more accurate in our ground fielding. It cost us runs and we didn’t get through the overs. There was some carelessness,” Wright said.

Wright also dismissed the idea of players being distracted by events over the World Cup contracts wrangle between the BCCI and the International Cricket Council.

“We represent a passionate and proud cricketing nation and every tie is important. There should be no distractions,” he said.

India should have Sachin Tendulkar back for the third match in Christchurch on Wednesday. The team’s leading batsman failed a fitness test on a sprained ankle before Sunday’s match.

“Tendulkar will make a difference,” Wright said. “He is an inspiration on the field and, of course, in the batting line-up.”

Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly refused to give any excuse for the defeat and said the team generally had a bad day out on the field.

“We had the game in our hand when (Virender) Sehwag was batting but his dismissal changed the course of the match,” Sourav observed.

“The situation required that I stay there, and also the track was good to bat on. But it would have been nice had the team won,” said Man-of-the-Match Sehwag .

Home captain Stephen Fleming said: “Players are enjoying their chances... And things are going to a plan. The World Cup is around and it is nice to be winning”.

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