The Telegraph
Wednesday , October 31 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Traditionalist’ Wright is not in favour of day/night Tests

- Sachin knows best when it’s time to call quits, says former India coach
John Wright in Calcutta, on Tuesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Former Team India coach John Wright does not approve of International Cricket Council (ICC)’s go ahead to day/night Test matches. The “traditionalist” said Test cricket is best suited for day-time action. “Imagine a day/night Test match in New Zealand… It will be freezing,” he said.

Wright was in town as the Brand Ambassador of Southern Institute of Technology of Invercargill, New Zealand, which announced additional scholarship places of the John Wright Scholarship.

The following are excerpts

On ICC’s approval to day/night Test matches

It will be interesting to see what happens… Who all embraces this idea. Personally, speaking I am a traditionalist… I do not buy this new idea of day/night Tests... I would always like to see Test matches starting by 11 ’clock and stumps drawn by 6… Imagine a day/night Test match in New Zealand… It will be freezing… May be this how ICC wants to attract more crowd… Wider television coverage… But still I am not for day/ night Test matches. You may say I am old fashioned… But that’s the way I think most of us would like to see Test matches.

If he likes the idea of different captains for different formats

If the captain is smart enough, then why do you need different captains. It’s easier for the coach and other players to express their views when there is one captain for all formats. I know that here in India, there is a clamour for different captains, but that may not be suitable... Ten years of hard work made India the world champions… It’s too early to judge Mahendra Singh Dhoni… Why disturb the equilibrium? It may not give you the desired results.

India’s abysmally bad overseas performance…

Yes, it’s something which should worry the Indian team. They became the No.1 Test-playing nation by recording overseas wins… And that process started in 2000. You have to stem the rot… Do something special to get back to winning ways abroad. The drubbing against England is understandable because the team, I think, was emotionally exhausted after the World Cup triumph. But against Australia, I was surprised to see India not putting up a decent fight. That was disappointing. If you want to be the No. 1, you have to win abroad. I think at this point in time, this team is happy to win at home. And that’s a cause of concern.

Whether the Indian team’s demand for turning tracks against England in the forthcoming series is justified

Well, home advantage is fine with me… It’s part and parcel of the game. If you go to New Zealand or play in England in early summer, it seams a bit. The visiting side have to adapt… But if you have a rank turner it’s no point. A Test match track should last for five days… Two or three days of good batting and then a bit of turn from later part of the third day. That’s how it should be.

On his memorable ‘partnership’ with Sourav Ganguly

Oh, those were the best days of my life... I have such fond memories… We both are Cancerians… So there was an instant bonding… We discussed cricket dispassionately and argued over certain points. But at the end of the day, we had a common goal… To make India world’s best… Also, at that time, we had a great bunch of world-class players… Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag… That also helped us… Sourav, I believe, is mulling to quit IPL. Yeah, he is 40 now… I guess it’s time. But he had a wonderful career and his understanding of the game was unparalleled. He has the best cricketing brain I have seen.

On Sourav as a commentator

Brilliant… I am following his commentary… He is very candid and direct. He reminds me of John McEnroe.

Whether Sachin Tendulkar should call it a day

Great players are incredibly self-aware… They are very particular about what standard they are setting. So let’s keep leave that to Sachin... If you are up for 23 years, at some point of time, there will be troughs… He knows best when it’s the time to call quits.

If he wants to see Yuvraj Singh in the Test squad

First of all he has done an amazing job by making a comeback… Something special. He came into the scene in Nairobi back in 2000… But then, his was more of a limited role because India had some world-class Test players at that time. Now I think he should go through the rigours of domestic cricket to break into the Test side.

His take on the new star, Virat Kohli

He is doing a good job... He has cemented his place. But getting into the Indian team is easy, to become a world-class player is the toughest part. During my time, I saw players like Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwags striving hard to become the world’s best spinner and opener respectively... Virat should work hard and hard to become a world-class batsman… It’s not easy though.