John Wright likely to coach rugby team now

Published: Thursday, August 3, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Christchurch:His name is doing the rounds as John Bracewell's successor in the Kiwi cricket team but when John Wright eventually takes up his next assignment, it may well be as a rugby coach.

According to media reports here, Wright, in the headlines for some candid revelation in his ''Indian Summers'', is weighting his employment options as a coach and he is looking beyond cricket as well.

''I'd love at some stage to have a role in competitive sport in New Zealand, whether it be cricket or something else and I don't rule anything out,'' Wright said.

And making it clear that he was not merely joking, the former Kiwi cricket captain said, ''I couldn't coach (other sports) but there are certain issues in high performance sports that cross over.

''You just have to get your culture right and get your values right. I've learned a lot watching the Hurricanes and I've studied the Crusaders with Robbie (Deans) and learned heaps off Wayne Smith,'' he said, pointing out rugby would be his preferred field, if he indeed looks beyond cricket.

''The technical aspects change but you get an idea of what athletes you want playing for yourself. I'm interested in what Graham Henry, Dick Tonks and Ruth Aitken do,'' he added.

Wright, however, is widely believed to succeed Bracewell as the new New Zealand coach after the World Cup in the West Indies in March-April, even though he is not that sure.

''I think New Zealand have a bloody good chance in this World Cup, they are one of four or five teams that does, so if they are in form and get momentum going and do well then Braces can write his own contract.

''I don't look at it in simple terms like 'when am I going to coach New Zealand' because I look at Braces and I rate him as a coach, particularly in One-dayers -- he won everything at Gloucester,'' he said.

''For me there are the other issues as well, like going back on the road again, which is hard. I'm starting to get eager again but I want to find a role that I am comfortable in and enjoy, and it fits in with a good lifestyle where I can see the children. I don't know what that will be,'' Wright was quoted as saying by The Dominion Post.

He also ruled out entering in a race with former team mate Bracewell to impress another, New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden, for the coach's job.

''I'm playing golf next week with Braces. We are all former teammates, we are mates. They were all there for me last night,'' Wright said.

Besides criticising the selection process in India, Wright, in the book, also recalls how he was ignored for the Kiwi coach's job in 1999 which went to David Trist and questioned the interview process conducted by Christopher Doig.

''At the time I was shattered but there were misunderstandings on both sides. I actually like Chris Doig and he made a huge difference at NZC. It's the same as when I was a young lad. I went to university and I wanted to go to med school and I missed out. I was devastated, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got to play cricket,'' he said.

And regarding his four and a half years experience with Team India, Wright had amusing tales to tell.

''They ran at the pace of a tortoise with two hip replacements,'' he quipped.

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