The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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We are hungry to perform: Wright
- 'No harm in preparing wickets tailored for home team'

Calcutta: Team India coach John Wright believes that preparing wickets in India to suit the spinners is not a bad idea, but he doesn't back the concept of the toss becoming the deciding factor.

'My humble feeling is that in India, wickets usually take turn from the third day, sometimes a little earlier. This is not bad, considering that India have always had quality spinners, and the batsmen also can handle spin well.

'But I think wickets should not be prepared in a way that toss becomes the determining factor' Personally, I don't like the game to be won this way,' Wright said, talking about wickets tailored for the home team.

With Sourav & Co. preparing for the second and final Test against South Africa, starting Sunday, the 22-yard strip of the Eden was very much on Wright's mind. 'The wicket looks drier and barer in comparison to other occasions. It would be nice to win the toss here,' he observed. 'Our opponents could have gained some confidence from Kanpur. The track there was very very slow, and that was frustrating. After seeing the conditions here, I hope there will be a result,' Wright told a press conference after the team's practice at the Eden on Friday.

'My team is hungry to perform. We need a few more wins under our belt and we are looking forward to the (second) Test,' he opined.

The coach, meanwhile, hinted that the strategy of fielding three spinners in Kanpur might not be at play at the Eden. If a switch to the two-pronged attack becomes the case, Irfan Pathan would replace Murali Kartik in the XI (confirming The Telegraph's Friday report), though according to the coach, Ashish Nehra also looked 'equally fresh'.'It looks like the wicket here is going to turn at some stage. With the spin attack we have, probably a 2-2 combination may be an option,' Wright said. 'However, before taking the final decision I have to sit with the captain and (selection committee chairman) Kiran More,' he added.

Talks of Wright leaving his job at the end of this series were dismissed by the New Zealander as 'rumours'. Instead, he said, he hopes to travel with the team to Bangaldesh. He added that he had recently discussed the issue of his continuation with the former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya.

'There has been a lot of rumours so far as my role is concerned. The longer you stay, the more often you hear such rumours,' Wright pointed out. 'I want to see my team improving constantly. If at any point of time I feel that I'm not achieving that, then someone else can come over and take my place,' he maintained.

Asked whether the 218-run stand between Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir would put the opening-pair crisis in perspective, Wright said: 'What's important is stability. Once you have a consistent (opening) partnership, it becomes easier for the late order.'

He, however, feels that facing Australia and South Africa in quick succession ' two teams with different mindsets ' does affect his team's strategy. 'One is quite aggressive while the other a young but determined side,' Wright said, adding that there was very little time to work on the necessary adjustments.

The Indians sweated out for over two hours at the Eden. Sourav Ganguly did some stretching and running and left the ground after 45 minutes. Sehwag skipped nets, spending time at the team hotel gymnasium instead, while Zaheer Khan was allowed rest.

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