“I’m looking forward to working with Anil, Sachin [Tendulkar] and Bhajji [Harbhajan Singh]. It’s been a long time since I know them and I’m pleased to have an opportunity to work with them again. I know the team means a lot to everyone at Reliance and Mumbai,” Wright was quoted as saying by the official website of Indian Premier League.
“It’s exciting to be back [in India]. This is a completely different challenge. Many of the people I got to know when I was here last are involved in many ways with the IPL. So it’s exciting. The biggest prospect for me is once again being part of big games in front of the huge Indian crowds. That’s something I’ve always enjoyed with passion. I’m looking forward to going back to all those grounds with the Mumbai Indians.”
Wright was approached three to four weeks before the IPL players auction was held.
“I was contacted about 3-4 weeks before the 2013 Player Auction to see if I was interested. It was an exciting call to get because I know Mumbai Indians is a big team and Mumbai is the city I spent most of my time when last I was here. To work with the Reliance family and also to work alongside Anil Kumble (Mumbai Indians’ team mentor), was an exciting opportunity.”
The former New Zealand Test batsman feels IPL is a very competitive league, with a lot at stake.
“You always have your highs and your lows. This is a very competitive league and there’s a lot at stake. People will expect results – something that was similar when I coached Team India. You have to convince people what you’re trying to do will work. This is another challenge in that direction. You are required to win games and if you don’t, you go home.”
Wright, who has previously mentored Kumble, will now be sharing the same platform at Mumbai Indians.
Wright said, “Well, he’s [Kumble] my boss. It’s my advice to all the coaches to be careful how you coach your players as you might end up working for them (laughs heartily). I don’t think the equation changes in any way. I know what a capable young man he is and it shows in the way he has moved on to a different life. I’m looking forward to this new relationship. We know each other well. When I was with the Indian team, there were times when I had to choose between Harbhajan and Kumble, and sometimes Kumble missed out. We’ve been through a lot together. Now he is the mentor and I report to him and I’m very happy about that.”
Speaking about his relationship as coach with Tendulkar, Wright said, “There’s a lot of that with any player-coach relationship but particularly so with great players. They have huge awareness of their own game and you’re there to help them. The shape that the help takes varies with the younger players. But all in all, it’s about forming relationships with the players you’re working with in terms of their maturity and understanding of things. It will be great to see Sachin. He’s done so many great things since I last saw him.”
Wright had earlier predicted that Tendulkar will go on to score 100 international centuries. Asked whether Wright has any other goals set for the maestro, he said, “I hope he really enjoys the time with the new people in the management. I just want him to enjoy his cricket and have fun playing. I think it’s important that we celebrate the way Sachin has played his cricket and I know that Mumbai loves him. I will be encouraging him to go out there and have fun, express himself. I’m just looking forward to watching him bat for as many overs as he can bat.”
“I coach the way I coach. I’m a bit older and perhaps, a bit wiser. It’s a different sort of game and I think coaching is all about creating a management group that allows and encourages the team to play without fear; to create a tough team that doesn’t have any fear of failure. A team that fights hard, works hard and prepares well. It’s just a matter of being together and working towards the common goal of winning. We’re very happy with the players we’ve signed. We have a great mix of some really exciting players who know how to win.”
Wright will be mentoring a team with star cricketers like Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting and he feels it will be an exciting prospect.
“I think they’ll enjoy each other’s company and watching them sharing the same space is an exciting prospect in itself. There are not many teams you’ll get to watch a Ricky Ponting and a Sachin Tendulkar playing together,” he concluded.