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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview >

'We need to get the best out of Sehwag'

February 18, 2003

Indian coach John Wright looks back on the game against Australia and at India's game against Zimbabwe in a conversation with Assistant Editor Faisal Shariff in Harare.

Disappointing performance against Australia?

It was always going to be a tough game; one of those 50-50 games. We could have batted a lot better. I think Australia are a very fine team and we need to give them a lot of credit. They have shown in the past that even with three bowlers when they are on song they are a difficult side. We didn't get a partnership going and we couldn't get enough runs on the board. It was disappointing, but it is the past.

It is a tournament. There are always going to be disappointments. It is a matter of fighting back, play the next game and perform. At the start of the tournament, Australia was always going to be tough.

Where is the Indian team slipping up?

We are not getting through the first 15 overs without losing early wickets. We have to play an innings. Our gameplan is to have wickets in hand when we get to the last 18 overs; we want 7, 8 wickets in hand. We haven't been given the starts over the last few games. None of the top three have given us big scores. That has been the problem. Far too often we are seeing shots that are too ambitious for the situation we are in. One of our skills is when you are batting first is assess the situation and have a target in mind.

We know as we proved in England that if we keep wickets in hands that is the best way for us to play. The last 18 overs is the time you pick up the maximum number of runs. That is not only by the domestic cricketers who play here but also (from) the first game between West Indies and South Africa.

How frustrating is it for a coach to see his team not live up to its potential?

You try and find answers by asking questions and keep a good perspective on it. There is so much going on with so many reactions from the media and fans back home. It requires a different sort of attitude. It is up to the batters; they have to get some runs on the board. They have to solve their problems which are fairly clear cut. I still feel we could have batted better in both games.

I think one good performance will set things right, and that has to happen now. We are too far down the road. We need to click now. Coaching is like that; things can change very quickly.

Not very long ago we were lauded for our performances. Now that is not happening, and that is sad.

Are the reactions back home affecting the players?

Their families and friends have communicated it to them. It does have a pressure of its own. Some of the players have been around for too long. It is part of playing for such a passionate cricketing nation. Personally, I hope we can change their minds by putting in a good performance. The way to stop these problems is to go on the field and perform.

If you are part of the Indian team there are expectations. I feel the fans have been very happy and patient. There are bound to be reactions like these. There was a lot of hype going into the tournament, which I feel was unrealistic.

But that is part of cricket.

The way to solve it is to go there and get a hundred. Then you will have the fans mowing your lawns again.

What about the game against Zimbabwe?

We have to get 16 points. Zimbabwe have been awarded 4 points already. Further down the road you do not know what might happen really. We need to pick this one up very badly. They are playing at home and have been very competitive against us. I think the wicket here is better for chasing, and the Zimbabweans like to chase. We may do likewise; that is a possibility.

They are a competitive side. They are feeling very good about themselves because they have got 8 points and have played only one game.

Any changes coming up in the Indian team?

With the exception of Parthiv Patel, the other 14 will come into play. We need to get our combination right.

Will Sachin open the innings? Skipper Sourav Ganguly said he opened only because he had a good record against Australia. Will he go down the order again?

No, he will continue at the top of the order. As far as I know -- and while I talk to you now, that is the plan. Unless the captain wants to change the batting order, I think Sachin will open the innings. I am pretty sure about one thing -- and that is we need to get the best out of Sehwag. That's probably as much as I would like to say at this stage.

Where do you see this side going? What's going wrong?

At the end of the day, it is runs. The fielding has been okay. In South Africa you need to get 250 runs at least if you are batting first and need to be in the competition. There has been a bit of a confidence issue but we have to put runs on the board.

Do you think we need to have seven batsmen? Do you think we should have six batsmen who can take responsibility and score runs?

It is a good point, but we also feel we can have a seventh batsman if Ganguly, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Mongia can bowl as the fifth bowler and pick four specialist bowlers. At this stage we are stuck with the batsmen. I think we will probably stay with it, particularly if we are looking to chase. We will probably have to review it after this game.

Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming had a brilliant knock to pull his side out of trouble the other day. He told a press conference that when the skipper gets some runs it makes him more confident with his decisions. Do you think Ganguly is struggling with that due to his lack of form?

It was a tremendous knock by Fleming. I don't want to get into that about Ganguly. Captaincy is a tough job and it gets tougher when you are out of form. I wish Ganguly all the best and hope he goes out there, gets going and gets a big score. You always feel better when your own form is good.

But you don't need the coach to tell you that.




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Number of User Comments: 29

Sub: Smriti you are Right !!

What you have said in your article posted on Feb-19 about Indian team has turned out to be absoultely correct. At the time of downfalls ...

Posted by Sarat Sankar

Sub: Total calamity ?!!

Disastrous Captaincy, poor form of all top order batsmen, no spirit to fight, only on paper too-good-a-team image, catastrophic bowling -- the total picture of ...

Posted by Krish

Sub: Come back to India

Instead of going to lose the match, better Indian team can Come back to India. This may help to get the chance to the real ...

Posted by Krishnan

Sub: Wrights comments

Wright is an extremely sensible guy, I wonder why he did not put the same senses into the Indian Captain. Arrogance in the captain's recent ...

Posted by winniepooh

Sub: best wishes for the team as well as the coach

in my opinion i feel that too much hype was created about this whole issue of world cup.our team members our just human beings like ...

Posted by smriti


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