Dhoni’s team stronger than the 2003 side: Wright

February 20th, 2009 - 7:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Chirstchurch, Feb 20 (IANS) India’s former coach John Wright believes Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team has a more balanced look than the one that lost both the Tests here under his tutelage six years ago.
Wright, who was India’s first overseas coach, is now a New Zealand selector and his job would be to help plot India’s downfall.

Wright formed a highly successful combination with skipper Sourav Ganguly and changed India’s touring results overseas.

But when he brought the Indian team here last time, he watched with dismay the curators produce pitches as green as Irish paddocks to undermine the great strokemakers from India. The visitors had lost both Tests inside three days before losing the one-day series 2-5.

“I’m on the other side now and that may be helpful,” Wright said.

“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 has moved on from that disappointment but believes the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Darvid and Virender Sehwag will breathe a sigh of relief once they see that the pitches in New Zealand are mainly of a very good standard.

“They have 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,” Wright said.

“You have got a bloke like Sehwag when he’s on, it doesn’t matter what the wicket is like,” Wright was quoted as saying in The Dominion Post.

Wright has a lot of respect for the young Indian one-day outfit, calling them the “form team” in the world. As for their Test squad, he believes the area of weakness to be probed is with the new ball against their top order.

Wright believes the biggest difference between the side he brought here in 2003 and Dhoni’s touring team is the strength and balance of the bowling attack.

The tourists possess highly talented Ishant Sharma, an effective left-armer in Zaheer Khan, the legspin of Amit Mishra and a combative offspinner in Harbhajan Singh.

“India must be very excited about his (Ishant’s) potential,” he said.

“We’ve only really seen him bowling in subcontinental or Australian conditions, where it’s pretty hard work for the pacemen.

“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.

“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.”

Recalling that tour, Wright said “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.

The tour comprises three Tests, five One-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches.

Wright was all praise for Dhoni.

“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 will be well led.”

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