A five-year coaching stint with Indian cricket under his belt,John Wright,now a New Zealand national selector,says he has the “ideas” that can help Daniel Vettori’s men beat the visitors in the upcoming series.
India has not won a Test series in New Zealand for the past 41 years. Wright coached the team between 2000-05 and was here when they were blanked 0-2 six years ago.
“I’m on the other side now and that may be helpful. I have a few ideas but it always boils down to what happens on the park,the accuracy and quality of the cricket our blokes play,” Wright was quoted as saying by ‘The Dominion Post’.
India kick off their tour here with a couple of Twenty20 games followed by a five-match one-day series and three Tests.
Recalling the Test series that India lost in 2003,Wright said the seaming tracks would still be fresh in the visiting players’ minds and they would be eager to see how the pitches have been prepared this time around.
“They’ll be interested to see the first pitch. They’ve not won (a series) here for 41 years they’ll definitely want to put that right but I don’t think they think about settling old scores,” he added.
“The tour before,their batters did well,Dravid got a couple of hundreds at Hamilton,so he will have good memories of that,” said the former India coach.
“My recollection from last time was they were extreme conditions and probably not the best for watching,so let’s hope there is a bit more even balance because they are the most exciting batting line-up to watch,” Wright said.
“You’ve got a bloke like Sehwag when he’s on,it doesn’t matter what the wicket is like,” he added.
As far as the Tests are concerned,Wright feels New Zealand’s new ball bowlers will be key to putting pressure on the Indians.
“If you can get early wickets,then it will be interesting. It is probably the same with most sides that come here,but they (India) won’t have forgotten the last experience here. Sometimes those ghosts are hard to hide,so the key is putting them under pressure early and just bowling in a very tight area.”
The former New Zealand batsman believes the difference between India in 2003 and now is the strength and balance of the bowling attack.
“India must be very excited about his (Sharma’s) potential. We’ve only really seen him bowling in sub-continental or Australian conditions,where it’s pretty hard work for the pacemen,” he said.
“You’d expect once he gets to a place like New Zealand or England,where the conditions favour the seamers more,he’ll be at least as influential again,” said Wright.
“Zaheer has really matured; he has really come of age. He had a spell of county cricket with Worcester and just did lots of bowling and that did him a lot of good. He hasn’t really looked back since then.”
Wright feels India might opt to field an extra seamer in Munaf Patel at the cost of one of the spinners. The former India coach also had a word of praise for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni,who will be leading the team on his first full tour abroad.
“He’s done outstandingly well to lead India at such a young age with some big people in the side. Captaining India is a very challenging assignment,the microscope is constantly on you,but he seems to have really got them going. From all the people you talk to in India he is very impressive. They’ll be well led.”
Asked about Sachin Tendulkar,Wright said it would be good to see him in New Zealand. “He’s a very special person,he’ll enjoy it here. Sachin enjoys touring and it will be good to see him,” said Wright who felt Indian players would enjoy their trip here.
“They love the freedom. The highlight of the last trip was a trip on the Shotover jet. We did that as a group. That was the biggest day of the tour we had no highlights on the