Sunday, April 17, 2005

The end of an era...So long Mr. Wright, and thanks for all the phish

And so, an era has come to an end. John Wright's over and done with the Indian cricket team. Amit's blog had something interesting about JW's last press conference, and hopefully will throw a lot more light on his tenure in future posts.
I am sure the tributes will flow in soon, and I look forward to reading them. When JW took over in 2000, the team was relatively in shambles, having just been dismissed for 54 in an ODI final in Sharjah. I think the Zim series was his first in charge, and slowly but surely he began a famous partnership with Ganguly. Undoubtedly the Wright-Ganguly combo has been a major factor in India's success over the last 5 years.
I happened to watch the team during their prep camp for the Aussie series in 2001....and what an amazing surprise I was in for, when I went to IIT-Chemplast. I expected to see the players gen lolling around doing their own thing, but what I saw was amazing.
Each and every player (including some folks who werent on the team, like Dinesh Mongia) had their work cut out. The best part was that the press was kept out most of the time, until the practice session was over. I didnt expect to see this much professionalism.
I clearly remember Kumble (with one arm in a sling) watching over the spinners with a hawkish eye (remember, he didnt play that series...but a turbaned dude did..and was fairly successful in it!). Tendulkar facing Srinath and Prasad....Ganguly as usual was loitering around (he isnt capable of much more, imho)...Dravid was facing the spinners...I dont think Sehwag was on the national radar then.
IIT-Chemplast is an amazing cricket ground, all said and done. That's in stark comparison to other college grounds like Guru Nanak and ACTech, which have hosted first-class matches. It sure gives the Chepauk a good run for its money.
Watching JW's interviews and press conferences was a real lesson in humility. Everyone quotes JW's humility as a standout quality....Here he was, the shepherd of India's favorite flock and he never once acted arrogant. I think he did say in an interview that it was for his players to take the plaudits, but yet when the team didnt do well, questions were raised over his abilities. Like Amit said, he was let down badly by the BCCI. I have my own expansion for the BCCI :D!
The BCCI has been reduced to Dalmiya's fiefdom these days, though it seems Ranbir (R***y) Singh seems to be standing up to Jaggu Dada....All said and done they mumble, bumble and stumble from one controversy to another. I dont know why every BCCI Secretary is a dope, be it that joker Jaywant Lele, Niranjan Shah and now SK Nair. They act as if they dont know their ___hole from their damn nostrils. The sad part is they probably DONT!
I just hope JW goes out with more fond memories rather than a bad taste over what could have been...
So long Mr. Wright.....and thanks for all the phish....:). We'll be keeping a hawk-like watch on you!

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