Kiwis will do well as they have the right players for the right positions: Wright

“They have the right players for the right positions and the skipper has a good cricket brain and also is very cool under pressure.”
“They have the right players for the right positions and the skipper has a good cricket brain and also is very cool under pressure.” © Getty
Former India and Kiwi coach John Wright talks exclusively to TOI about his favourites for the 2019 edition and also narrates some interesting anecdotes about the 2003 campaign where he guided India to the final and how playing volleyball everyday was a lucky omen for the Sourav Ganguly-led side.Excerpts:As a former India coach, how much does the loss in the 2003 final to Australia still hurt?We really played well in that tournament. Reaching the final is itself a fair indication of that. Australia really dominated that day right from the first over and they gradually took the match away from India. Losing a World Cup final is an unforgettable story for me and the Indian team members.How confident were you and the rest of the team of succeeding in that game?
Prior to the final, we really were quite consistent and won a few closely contested matches. Naturally, we had high hopes about winning the final too. But Australia were too good on that day. Lady Luck too was not with us.
People who were reporting during that tournament wrote that the team did not play volleyball in the last practice session before the final and went back to the hotel. And after someone mentioned that to you, the team came back from the hotel just to not break a routine that was working…
(Laughs): Yes, I also remember someone from the team mentioning that we had been playing volleyball every day after the practice session. Why can’t we do that in the last practice session too? Hence, we all agreed to come back to the ground and play volleyball.Sort of. The boys were really tired under the hot sun. Yet they came back to the field, organised the net and the boys were divided into two teams as they had been practising regularly. I felt the whole team wanted to have some peace of mind that they had done everything in terms of preparation.ho according to you will qualify for the final in 2019?Million dollar question. Safe answer is, whoever plays well. (Laughs). Actually, this will be a very evenly contested competition. There are too many contenders. And the tournament will go on almost for seven weeks. Every team will have to maintain their form if they are to win. But, on paper, there are about five teams who will be a threat for the others.
What about New Zealand? You captained them and coached them too in 2011?
They will play decent cricket. We all should remember that they reached the final in Melbourne in 2015 but lost to Australia. We also remember that despite being in the semifinals seven times, we have never won the tournament in its 43-year history. Kane Williamson is leading a balanced side. They have the right players for the right positions and the skipper has a good cricket brain and also is very cool under pressure. The team has a good mix of young and experienced cricketers. This core of the side that played the final in 2015 is still there.
What about the Indian team?India have been doing well across formats in the last one-and-a half years. There is no reason that they will not be playing a good brand of cricket. They have the best batsman in Virat Kohli and the best bowler in Jasprit Bumrah. Naturally, they will also have some advantage with the presence of these two cricketers. The team is full of dependable, formidable cricketers who know how to perform under pressure.