John Wright: Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be key to India's success at the World Cup
Former New Zealand and India coach John Wright has named Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as the key players for India in the upcoming 2015 Cricket World Cup. The 60-year-old New Zealander. who coached the Men in Blue between 2000 and 2005, also said that the best aspect about Kohli's performance was that he performed well, even while leading the side in the recent Test series against Australia.
“The most encouraging sign about Kohli is that he has performed (as a captain). It is very difficult to lead the side if you are not performing. Captaincy is like coaching. The more you do it, the more you learn. The impressive thing about him is that he leads with performance,” Wright told reporters in Delhi.
Wright has faith in Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma didn't have the best of times in the Tests versus Australia, but Wright, who has worked closely with the 27-year-old at the Mumbai Indians, feels that he is a special talent and cannot be taken lightly by the opposition.
“I know what he can do. He is a match winner and beautiful to watch,” he said.
The former opening batsman also felt that those who have been picked ahead of a heavyweight like Yuvraj Singh in the squad should ensure that they don't disappoint.
“I heard he (Yuvraj) is doing well in domestic cricket. If you drop a player like him, you just hope those who get the opportunity perform. He is a serious player. I am sure it (his selection) created a lot of discussion at the selection meeting,” he said.
Wright feels India are the best-prepared team for the World Cup
Talking about India’s chances at the event, Wright feels that the Indians have got the best possible workout, prior to the tournament and added that the return of MS Dhoni to the side will further strengthen the batting line-up. He further stressed that while the batting seems to be in able hands, the bowlers will have to step up to the plate and complement the batters as well.
“That team had been playing together for a longer period of time. This team is more unknown. Batting wise it looks as exciting as the one in 2011. Dhoni has had more leadership experience in one-day cricket. But a lot will depend on taking those early wickets and holding on to the catches.
“There will be two new white balls (in each innings), you want to take advantage of that. You want to be taking wickets, otherwise the game runs away from you,” he added.
India’s performances during Wright’s tenure, especially overseas was very good and Wright believes that performances overseas improve over a period of time.
“We had a great decade from 2000 and Gary (Kirsten) carried on taking the team to the number one Test side. So they proved they can do it. Sometimes it goes in circles. You only have to look at the Australian team. It had such a fantastic bunch of players and when they retired it struggled.
“Generally you can’t improve in Tests in a short span of time. It often takes up to five years to master the format. I see the Indian batting to be even stronger in the two years, but they have to find a way to take 20 wickets,” Wright said.
Wright: Australia and New Zealand are favourites
When asked about who his favourites to win the tournament would be, Wright said that Australia and New Zealand will begin the tournament as the teams with the best chance to win, considering they will be playing in home territory.
“To begin with, the New Zealand team has been playing some exciting cricket. We have got Brendon (McCullum) performing brilliantly and have Kane (Willamson) and Ross (Taylor) in top form. The young bowlers have done well especially seamers.
“You look all the teams on paper and you tend to go with the home teams, Australia and New Zealand in this case. It was the same when India won and it will be a challenge for them along with the likes of Pakistan, England, Sri Lanka and South Africa,” he said.
He also ruled himself out of the race to coach the Indian team, once Duncan Fletcher vacates the post after the World Cup.
“I heard they were talking about Michael Hussey too. I think there will be a lot of names doing the rounds. I am probably in the too old basket,” he concluded.