Mr Wright has good intentions but the wrong players

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 19:30 [IST]
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John Wright in an interview said, "We need to get hungry and improve." That is a noble ideal but he has the wrong crew to use that with. How can players who make megabucks through advertising schemes ever be termed hungry? They know they can flop miserably on the cricket field and still be guaranteed their money. Even if it won't come from the playing time, it will definitely come through their many endorsements and commercials. Look at the major hang-ups his players had during the recently concluded World Cup and signing those contracts.

If we look everywhere else in the Test cricket world, nowhere do we find Test players who make as much as the Indians do in endorsements leave alone the match fees etc. The players from the other countries do not make such megabucks and hence give it their best in the field because that is their bread and butter unlike their Indian contemporaries for whom match fees are like chump change when compared to the endorsements monies.

That's why we see heroic knocks like the 380 from Hayden, the 127 not out from tailender Streak whereas their Indian equivalents flop every step of the way and have even forgotten how to win at home! The rest of the players (apart from the Indians) know that if they do not perform on the field their bread and butter maybe slipping away so that there is the added impetus to perform well. Not so with the Indian players who already have their coffers overflowing.

Mr Wright also said that his players needed to up their energy. Pardon me Mr Wright, but how can you expect energy from players who waste it running from location to location to keep up with their endorsement obligations and have none for the actual field of play? Their incompetence is such that from match to match they keep forgetting the basics. Its like a bunch of grown ups going back to baby food because their teeth keep falling out.

John also wishes that his players can lift up their performance several levels and as a unit. The tour Down Under starts under a month away, and given the current trend of the Indian cricketers, there is no way under high heaven that will come to pass. It's a team of quick thinkers and strategists that can adjust that quickly and India is not that team! Mr Wright was correct in saying that his wards cannot expect to win tosses all the time, wickets that suit them and the weather conditions. These are the very things the overpaid, overrated Indian cricketers crow about when they lose or cannot force a result. Why not just admit that they are plain incompetent?

When asked if he wanted to tell his team something what would it be, his answer was that they needed to look forward, get hungry and improve. That brings me back to what I mentioned at the outset that will never happen. His wards look forward to making more money via lucrative advertising contracts, that's where their hunger truly lies and improvement who cares! Mr Wright also spoke of the commercial angle that takes over his players whenever they win. Mr Wright has it right, just the wrong players.

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