Under-fire India coach banking on Tendulkar~~s return

Published: Monday, January 6, 2003, 21:43 [IST]
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Wellington: India coach John Wright is hoping the return of Sachin Tendulkar will spark a turnaround in his team's fortunes as it prepares to face New Zealand on Wednesday. Wright has seen India's form go from bad to awful in recent weeks, with the Test series lost 0-2 and his side 0-4 down in the best of seven One-day series. Their latest defeat - a crushing seven-wicket loss on Saturday - has left many here describing India as one of the worst sides to tour New Zealand in recent years. Now Wright is hoping that a fit-again Tendulkar, who missed the first four One- dayers, can lift India's battered morale in Wednesday's game at the Westpac Stadium. "Things may change when he comes back for this match," Wright said of Tendulkar, the leading run-scorer in the world with 11,544 in 300 matches with a record 33 centuries. The master batsman has not played a One-dayer since the Champions Trophy final against Sri Lanka at Colombo in September. "To label India the worst team to tour New Zealand might be slightly over the top considering Bangladesh was here last summer but, in terms of the most disappointing, it's a one-horse race," a local daily noted. "India has been shown up as spineless and directionless in the Test and One-day series this summer, which would not be such a bad thing if it did not go around the world parading itself as the most talented batting line-up in commission," wrote the 'Dominion Post'. "India is a beaten lot. The spirit is gone and perhaps the laid-back nature of being in New Zealand, where the players have more freedom than elsewhere, has played a part in the downfall. "Now all it needs is for the Indian cricket Board to live up to its reputation as the most dysfunctional in the world and make coach John Wright the scapegoat." Copyright AFP 2001 

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