Monday, April 25, 2005

John Wright, A Straight Shooter

John Wright is once again a former Kiwi grafter with a decent record at the test level - just decent, nothing fancy. But at least in one part of the world, his contributions are likely to be recognized and remembered with fondness, although it is not likely that anyone will ask him for his autograph should he decide to take a vacation in coastal Kerala sometime over the next few years. Well, I'm not really sure about that last part given the fanatical levels of passion for cricket in India, but I wouldn't be surprised, given the low profile Wright chose to maintain throughout his tenure. Now that was something unheard of in the country, where every other guy claimed credit for the team's achievements and had no qualms about hogging the limelight at press conferences for players and coach. The small on sound bites, big on results approach was a big part of Wright's successful tenure. Even given the final rocky year, the four-year period has to be termed an unqualified success, something that Indian cricket can build on. In the process he earned the respect of the public, proved ignoramuses wrong and showed how simple things make a difference. Simple things like hard work and discipline. The one thing Wright's always talked about was how the most passionate cricket fans deserved a great side. It's a shame it took a foreigner to recognize that. But it shows how you understand the value of things that you did not have, while those that had it took it for granted. New Zealand cricket has struggled over the years to compete with other sports, namely rugby and also struggled within, being a small nation (in terms of bench strength for example). India meanwhile has been utterly profligate with its talent and resources. That is exactly why Wright was indignant when criticized the selection committee policies and the ever-changing dynamics of the BCCI, which impeded stability and progress. In doing so, he confirmed the worst suspicions of the public - the selection process has improved in recent years, but it is nowhere near the levels it should be at. In citing Kaif's example, he may have stoked other suspicions. It is common knowledge that Ganguly backed Yuvraj Singh more than any other young player, and sometimes it was at Kaif's cost. Every skipper makes his own choices; Steve Waugh preferred Brett Lee, now Lee is somewhat out of favour. Some choices work out while others don't. To be fair though, Wright blamed the selectors, not Ganguly. After all, the captain can only try to influence the process, he doesn't actually have a vote. There may be people who will express hollow disappointment at Wright's after the fact revelations. But instead of trying to hide behind officialdom, I think we need to listen to this man, a man of integrity, and set about making further reform. Oh, by the way, John Wright thinks he has a lot of money, so he's not interested in wielding the microphone! Who does he think he is? Rio Ferdinand? - NK


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The small on sound bites, big on results approach

this is a ridiculous statement implying a relationship between soundbites and results.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Gameboys said...

Of course, a low profile doesn't automatically mean results. But it isn't a such a ridiculous idea considering how everyone in our cricket tries to be a star. Instead, Wright focused on the important aspects and I think that definitely helped things.

- NK

10:38 AM  

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