Wednesday, 19 October 2016

John Wright 'comes home' as new T20 coach

I had a feeling that something would be announced today, when the membership packages for 2017 are announced. Perhaps a player but, as it turns out, the news that one of the biggest coaches in cricket is returning to a club that was his cricketing home for many years.

John Wright is a giant of the game. First as a player, one who rightly stakes a claim as one of the best in the club's history. He did it on the international stage too, averaging just under forty in an era when opening batsmen faced genuine fast bowling, whoever the opposition. All of it - well, nearly all of it - with a smile on his face and a genial manner that made him hugely popular with supporters.

It was the same when Wright became New Zealand coach and then the first non-Indian coach of their national side. He had previously enjoyed a county stint in charge at Kent and quickly became established as an outstanding coach at international level.

Of course, having the likes of Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman in the batting line up never does any harm, but Wright stressed to them all the role that they were expected to play in winning matches. He explained this well - shameless plug time - in an interview for my recent book In Their Own Words: Derbyshire Cricketers in Conversation, which gave an insight into the man and the way that he worked as a player and subsequently as a coach.

That same interview also clearly showed how important Derbyshire was and remains for John. He has made regular trips over here and has remained on very good terms with the club. He is also an unashamed fan of the area, which he loves.

He was in charge of India for five years, in which time they beat Australia at home for the first time, drew a series in that country, won a fiercely competed series against their arch rivals, Pakistan and reached the final of the 2003 World Cup.

At the end of his tenure -  and five years is a long time in a role that rarely carries a suggestion of longevity, even with success - Wright became a successful coach in the IPL, leading Mumbai Indians to that title and the Champions League T20 double in 2013.

Since then he has been a talent scout for that side, a role well-explained in this Cricinfo article. It was Wright who spotted the raw, unorthodox but precocious talent of Jasprit Bumrah, as well as that of Hardik Pandya, both of who have gone on to greater things.

That Wright has the coaching credentials is undeniable, but he also brings a huge network of contacts. As was explained recently by Kim Barnett, the T20 coach will recruit his overseas players and work solely on that format.

Might that see another return, this time for Martin Guptill? I won't attempt to second-guess, but John could go in any number of directions and will doubtless know a lot about what he has in the squad already and how that might best be complemented.

For my money, a powerhouse batsman and either a quick bowler or spinner of class would do nicely. If either offer a second string to their bow, so much the better, but we are in very good hands with John Wright.

If you are considering coaches who have made a reputation and a contribution to a dynasty, his work in making India more 'professional' is acknowledged across the world.

That he is now bringing those talents back to the county that gave him his first major opportunity in the game constitutes a pretty major coup by Kim Barnett. If this is the standard we are aiming at this winter, only the most churlish will find something to moan about.

Of course, we all want to know who is coming to play here next summer.

With a man of this stature in charge, it could be absolutely anyone.

Welcome back to Derbyshire, John. It will be a pleasure to see you again.


Anonymous said...

Exciting news. I was hoping it was somebody who had pedigree as a coach in winning something in t20. Assuming he might go after some Mumbai Indian players subject to availability. Guptill and McCleneaghan strike me as perfect for us. Death bowler and gun bat. I am sure Wright will have his own ideas and sort it. I think the batsmen needs to be able to captain. Not sure it Guptill is that man but even if he hasn't captained before it would be good experience for him. Just some ideas. Who knows what he will want to do but it seems a great appointment. Well done the club.

jasper said...

Guppy did captain his side in the CPL.

Anonymous said...

Wicked Jasper. Let's get him in then. Good info. Didn't know that. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well worth listening to the Radio Derby interview with KB tonight. Sounds like we could be very near to announcing the overseas player, possibly this week.


Adam said...

Excellent news all round today both with John joining the coaching staff and the membership deals being offered. The chairman is also hoping to announce two major international signings within the next week (from his twitter feed). Exciting times and I only hope that as many people as possible take advantage of the outstanding membership offer and play their part in ensuring the successful future of our club.

GH said...

Pleasantly surprised by the level of this signing. It's obviously completely my individual opinion, but I feel this is the greatest coaching signing we've ever had.

We'll see if he works well in the coaching structure and is a success, but to be fair I don't think we could have asked for a bigger coaching name from the Derbyshire management to fulfil the position.

Can't wait to see what happens and hoping for success!


Anonymous said...

underwhelming. some will always put a positive spin on it, but he's semi retired not much involved in the coaching at all from what I understand and simply watches a bit of cricket in his dotage. best of all for Derbyshire he is cheap.this really seems to be hiding a lot of problems in 4 day cricket by trumping a coach in a format where they make next to no difference. The internationals to be announced are for T20 apparently...again we really need quality in the championship side, and players to help in that. That's the biggest area we should be looking to improve on and focus our money.

High Peak

jasper said...

John Wright Derbyshire legend. All we need now is Peter Kirsten and the good old days are back!!

Roy of the Falcons said...

As much as John and Kim are Derbyshire legends we also need someone that is not long out of the game. If we don't I feel there will be a very large gulf between players and coaching staff particularly if we go through a bad spell.
Perhaps we are going to make T20 cricket the priority for next season because that fits the skill set of the players we have.

Peakfan said...

You are kidding High Peak? Possibly the most ridiculous assertion in the time I have written the blog.
He has a CV as long as your arm and proven credentials in the format. That is actually an insult to a man of proven ability and the club is to be applauded for having the nous to appoint him.
Ricky Ponting kept him on as an adviser and scout. Do you think he would do that were he not totally convinced of his ability?
Spin? Dotage? Very poor comment in my opinion.And if you think people with his CV come cheap there's a tad of unrealism.
The 4 day game will be addressed in due course.
Try and give the club SOME credit.

jasper said...

Wow! Well I guess it's true what they say. You can't please all the people all the time! For a start I guess we should totally disregard his recent involvement in the IPL with Mumbai Indians then...those in charge of the coffers at DCCC might argue that success in the T20 is very important if not crucial.

IanC said...

Absolutely PF and hopefully the fact that KB and JW played in the same successful Derbyshire side,including the Gillette Cup winning side,had some bearing in bringing this about. Both have been superb competitors for the club in years past,and if anybody can make a difference,then these two can,as they both know what it takes to be part of a winning team. If some supporters cannot see that,then it just beggars belief as to what they are looking for. I'm sure it helps that JW has played for derbyshire in the past,but more than that,seeing that KB is also heavily involved,makes it an intriguing challenge to turn things around ,for the pair of them.

Peakfan said...

That's the thing Roy, John Wright isn't out of the game. He plays a key role for Mumbai Indians in identifying the best young talent and works very well with Ricky Ponting. That he doesn't currently coach is the reason we have been able to lure him here. People of his stature in the game are very rarely willing to come to a county in the position we were in at the end of last season.

Nor is Kim Barnett. He hasn't been sitting in an armchair checking score updates on Twitter. He has many contacts in the game and will doubtless have utilised them in the past few weeks - as he will in the months to come.

He's made a good start. Engaging the best young players and picking up two who could become excellent signings, as well as engaging a world-renowned coach.

What next?