Sydney: Much as he hates featuring in headlines, John Wright is back in the news. It started when he got appointed as the World XI coach for the ongoing Super Series and, then, when he got dragged into the sordid Greg Chappell-Sourav Ganguly row. The former New Zealand captain remains uncomfortable with interviews, but did speak to The Telegraph at the SCG on Thursday.
The following are excerpts
Q Till you were appointed the World XI coach, youíd just disappeared after those four-and-half years with Team India. What kept you busy after April'
A (Grins) Settling back at home (outside Christchurch) ... But for short visits, I hadnít been in New Zealand for almost a decade ' first, because of my years at Kent and, then, the India job...
Surely, by now, you must have planned the future'
Not really... More than anything else, I needed a period of reflection... I do have to get a job, but at this point, I canít tell you what it will be. I hope to remain connected with cricket, yet opportunities are a bit limited in New Zealand.
How long did it take you to get over the long innings with Team India'
The attachment wonít ever go away... I loved the passion for cricket in India and, honestly, met so many wonderful people... Those years are going to remain special. (After a pause, emotionally) Any job can give frustrations, but the experience wonít ever leave me. At some point, I hope to return and renew my association with the many people I worked with.
It was only when the Chappell-Sourav controversy broke that your critics began appreciating what you did in those four-and-half years...
Whatever we discussed, remained in the dressing room... Sometimes, doing so was tough because of the passion and interest everywhere... I mean, there was the chance and fear of little things quickly becoming big things... In fact, Iíve been surprised at some reports in India which have talked of things that never happened... That X took a swing at me and so on... I think everybody has to be mindful that theyíre always in the public eye.
On the evidence of what happened in Zimbabwe, itís obvious the dressing room was far from harmonious...
Itís difficult to judge and I certainly wouldnít like to start a controversy... I hope Greg takes India forward and there will be periods when everybody wonít be happy... There are times when change creates insecurity and opposition, but thatís just natural. (Again, after a pause) There were times when I did a few things which probably didnít make me popular... Indeed, if I set my mind on something, I wasnít soft. As I told you in an earlier interview, had I been soft, I wouldnít have survived for as long as I did.
Perhaps, the biggest reason why Sourav and you had a fine working relationship is because you accepted the captain was the boss. Am I right'
Whoever the captain, my belief is that a coach is there to support him... In Melbourne, I backed Shaun Pollock; Iím backing Graeme Smith here... Sourav and I did have differences and when I couldnít convince him about something, I thought I hadnít made a good enough argument. Greg needs time to settle down and Iím sure Indian cricket is going to get through this period.
How long did it take you to get over the teething problems'
Oh, only I know what I went through in the first few months... People said I wouldnít last beyond four-five months and, perhaps, I wouldnít have had we not beaten Australia (in the 2000-01 Test series)... Indian cricket needed a new brush once I was through, needed a change... Greg has his style... Give him a chance.
Of course, but would you have gone to the extent of going for the toss, as was done by the coach in Mutare'
I wouldnít like to comment on specifics.
Would you have sent the damning e-mail'
(After much hesitation) I would have been mindful. Iím not saying anything more.
At one point in that e-mail, Chappell didnít show you in particularly good light. Were you offended'
For me, itís water under the bridge... Bottomline is that I did the job in the best manner I could... If I may add, I have a good relationship with Greg.
Can Sourav get back what he has lost as a batsman'
Heís a great player... A team, though, has to go forward and a captain should deserve a place in the XI... Actually, a lot of the issues get sorted out either by individual performances or when the team wins.
Finally, what has it been like to coach the Brian Laras'
Iíve been working with some greats, yes, but Iíve been very disappointed with the effort in the three ODIs (in Melbourne)... The World XI just wasnít professional enough and I made it clear that the commitment was lacking. I expect a much better show in the Super Test.