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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 April, 2005, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
India left on the Wright track
Dravid and Wright
Dravid praised Wright's legacy
It was a bold step for India to appoint their first foreign coach nearly five years ago when John Wright took up the reins.

The match-fixing controversy was at its height and millions of expectant fans were impatient for a talented but inconsistent team to deliver.

And it was clear the media and cricket supporters weren't keen on an outsider coming in.

But on the whole the cricket board's gamble has paid dividends for India who are currently the third best Test team in the world behind Australia and England.

Unflappable Wright, a cool-headed former New Zealand opening batsman and captain, has instilled self-belief in the team which more often than not has bridged the gap between potential and performance.

In his 51-Test tenure, India have won 20 matches, nine of them on their travels and they have lost only one home series, against Australia in 2004.

He has had his ups and downs but at the end of the day he probably had a few more ups than downs
Dravid on Wright

He began his reign with a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in November 2000 and a one-off Test victory over newcomers Bangladesh.

Then came one of Wright's most proud moments when India beat Australia 2-1 after losing the first Test by 10-wickets and being forced to follow-on in the second.

He had promoted VVS Laxman up the order and the batsman repaid the faith with a staggering match-winning 281.

But after the heady heights against Australia, Wright's honeymoon period ended abruptly with losses to Sri Lanka and South Africa.

India bounced back with a home series win over England and drew in the reciprocal fixture.

They won at home to West Indies but suffered a blip on their travels in New Zealand.

India again proved stubborn resistance to Australia drawing away from home but they suffered their only home series defeat under Wright last November to the world champions.

However fans will have forgiven him for this after all they had just beaten Pakistan 2-1 which was India's maiden Test and one-day series victories on Pakistani soil in the first full tour across the border in 14 years.

In between all this, Wright led them to the 2003 World Cup final.

India have lost their way recently, drawing the Test series with Pakistan and losing the one-day series 4-2 after going 2-0 ahead.

He developed as a unit, and helped us play good, exciting cricket all over the world
Dravid on Wright
But off-the-field shenanigans, with regular captain Sourav Ganguly banned for six games for persistent slow over-rates, have not helped.

Ganguly was permitted to play pending an appeal but he was not selected for the final two games.

Stand-in captain Rahul Dravid said Wright had made a tremendous contribution to the team.

He paid tribute saying: "It has been an eventful journey for John.

"He has had his ups and downs but at the end of the day he probably had a few more ups than downs."

Dravid said Wright aroused passion in the players and insisted on a strict fitness regime.

"We have valued his contribution to the team in helping us grow and develop as a unit, in helping us play good, exciting cricket all over the world," Dravid said.

"John will be missed not only as a coach but as a friend and an elder person."

Wright's will be a tough act to follow and another foreign coach - whether it's Dav Whatmore, Glenn Chappell or Tom Moody - could be on the cards.

Wright adapted remarkably well in alien conditions and can proudly say he has transformed India into a force to be reckoned with in international cricket.

A new coach has to make India believe in themselves again.


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