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Early June NCA date for Wright
- Team India coach ‘relaxed’ after interaction with Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya

Calcutta: It’s not unusual for John Wright to have creases on his forehead. Yet, if he had a few more Tuesday evening, before leaving for Mumbai (en route to hometown Christchurch), it had everything to do with transiting through SARS-hit Singapore and not his one-to-one with Board president Jagmohan Dalmiya.

Wright’s last session with Dalmiya here, days before Team India’s departure for the World Cup, after all, hadn’t gone off well. The latest, of course, was quite different.

“Oh, I’m quite relaxed… The interaction went off well,” the coach told The Telegraph. As for the president, he laughed: “This time, there was appreciation from my side.”

Dalmiya

Dalmiya also met physical trainer Adrian le Roux who, like Wright, spent a few hours in the city on the way back from Dhaka. He spoke to Wright for around two hours and spent some 30 minutes with le Roux. Later, he met them together for about half-an-hour.

While the president described the interaction as “largely administrative,” it’s understood that the terms and conditions of the duo’s contracts were discussed in “detail”.

Apparently, Dalmiya indicated their contracts will eventually be extended till March 2004, but that it will have to be ratified by the Board’s working committee, which now meets next month.

Currently, the contracts of Wright, le Roux and physio Andrew Leipus have been extended till May 24. Incidentally, all three were contracted till the World Cup, which ended on March 23.

Though a formal long-term extension is awaited, one learns all three will be “advised” to report at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) by end May/early June.

[Wright’s New Zealand roots apart, Leipus is based in Johannesburg and le Roux is from Bloemfontein.]

Wright, specially, must have been looking for a longer break but, obviously, that’s unlikely to materialise. Significantly, a number of consultants have been appointed, but the NCA is without a head coach/coach.

It’s not clear, however, just how much time the trio will spend at the Bangalore-located NCA. Equally, it’s not clear whether Team India’s commitments next season begin with the now-in-doubt Asia Cup (August 10-28) or the home series against New Zealand.

The pre-season conditioning camp will be influenced by when the commitments actually get underway.

Players’ pool favoured

Meanwhile, speaking exclusively, Wright said he favoured a “pool” which ought to be shortlisted well before the season gets underway.

Once identified, the players’ “progress” can be monitored thoroughly. Moreover, le Roux will be able to script fitness programmes for those (in the pool) who haven’t ever been exposed to such professional management.

According to Wright, individual programmes have been handed out to all XV who were in Dhaka and will be e-mailed to regulars who missed the tri-series there. V.V.S.Laxman, who couldn’t make it owing to a back injury, is also on the mailing list.

The physical trainer, by the way, is taken dead seriously — even captain Sourav Ganguly ‘dreads’ him.

Indeed, during a meal at the Sandton City Food Court, during the World Cup, Sourav was desperate to move the dessert (a chunky slice of creamy cake) off his table when he spotted le Roux coming towards him!

As it turned out, a confidant came to the captain’s rescue.

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