We got it wrong, says coach Wright

Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2001, 3:52 [IST]
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Bloemfontein (South Africa): India coach John Wright admitted his team's management had blundered on selection in the wake of its nine-wicket thrashing by South Africa on Tuesday.Wright said the decision to choose newly arrived left-arm seamers Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan had been an error and acknowledged Rahul Dravid had been played out of position. The coach was speaking after India suffered a dramatic fourth-day collapse to plunge to defeat. Both Wright and captain Saurav Ganguly said the Indian batting had been disappointing. "To lose nine wickets in a day in any Test match in any conditions makes it difficult," said Wright, who said there had been some faulty shot selection. "All our players are wonderful to watch but against a good attack where there is some movement (off the pitch) you have to be judicious in your shot selection." You don't want to inhibit their natural ability but there is a fine line," he said. Ganguly said India would use a four-day match against South Africa A', starting in East London on Saturday, to "try a few things" ahead of the second of three Tests, which starts in Port Elizabeth November 16. Ganguly said Dravid, who made two and 11, had volunteered to open the batting and it had been decided to take this option instead of throwing in uncapped specialist Connor Williams, who had not played outside Asia. Wright said the abandonment because of a wet field of a planned three-day match against a Presidents XI in Chatsworth last week had been a major setback. Like Williams, Nehra and Khan had just arrived in South Africa and the loss of the match meant they did not play before the Test. "With hindsight, being match fit is probably better than being net fit," said Wright, who said right-arm pace bowler Ajit Agarkar had been unlucky to miss selection after a good One-day series leading up to the Tests. Ganguly said because South Africa had greater batting depth, it was important that India's top order batsmen made big scores. "We got some starts but we've got to convert them," he said.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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