India Uncut

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Touched by Wright

Today was John Wright's last press conference as Indian coach, and we all applauded as he walked into the room, something that hard-as-nails journalists seldom do at PCs. Wright was bowing out with defeat, but not in disgrace. India always had plenty of talent, but it was Wright who made them a professional outfit that could take on the best teams in the world. Beating Australia in 2001, reaching the final of the World Cup, drawing with Australia in the away series in 2003-04, beating Pakistan the same season; Wright had many high points, but many low ones too.

I shall write more about him, and his relationship with Sourav Ganguly, some other time. I'm writing this post simply because something he said moved me. When asked if he would still continue watching India play cricket, he said: "Like a hawk." He continued:

"My son supports India. My daughter supports India. I will always support India." Here he paused, and then said, "India has touched me".

These were sincere words; you could make out from the manner in which he said them. It was easy, from his tone, to imagine him holding back the tears while packing his bags for the last time, blinking furiously so that no one would see how much it meant. He is a quiet, undemonstrative man who gave everything to his job, and much as we credit others for bringing passion into the side and Wright for bringing professionalism, he was as passionate as anyone else there. He just didn't wear it on his sleeve.

These have been fascinating and emotional years for Indian cricket, and someday, I hope, one of the handful of talented cricket writers in the country will tell the full story, so that people know how much Wright tried, and how badly he was let down, by the BCCI, by his captain, by a media keen to rush to judgement, by circumstances. It was a time of possibilities, and much as Wright will gracefully deny it, it will also hold many regrets. What a shame.
amit varma, 6:39 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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