Johannesburg: John Wright, according to well-placed sources, had decided not to seek an extension if India didn’t make the semi-finals of World Cup 2003. Now that Sourav Ganguly’s team has made that stage, Wright will be “inclined” to continue.
Of course, it’s to be seen whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) makes the first move or Wright himself speaks to the powers-that-be about continuing as coach beyond this tournament.
Perhaps, what Wright told The Telegraph a fortnight back is significant: “Let’s see how the World Cup goes... If we don’t progress, I may not have to make up my mind... I’m not going to hang around for the coach’s job... I wouldn’t want it if the team doesn’t move from B to A or A-1 from A.
However, one school of thought is that Wright ought to be retained by the BCCI, but in a different capacity.
As a well-placed source put it: “Unless Wright is given greater authority, he won’t ever be able to take tough decisions vis-à-vis the established players. And, so, it won’t be a bad idea if he oversees the Academy (in Bangalore) and works exclusively with the U-19s and the A team...”
The source added: “The players making the India team will then be much better prepared and, thanks to Wright, would have inculcated all the right values... What the BCCI eventually decides remains to be seen, but there is talk of getting Wright to fine-tune the second string, instead of working with the Sourav Gangulys...”
Wright, it may be recalled, took charge (from stand-in coach Aunshuman Gaekwad) in November 2000.
Meanwhile, the contracts of physio Andrew Leipus and physical trainer Adrian le Roux also come up for renewal at the end of the tournament. Though both have done a fantastic job, Wright is still understood to have requested a senior BCCI functionary to “ensure” their extension.
An excellent Wright gesture but, then, the coach has never fit a stereotype.