John Wright backs Rohit Sharma for Tests

John Wright, who coached India for five years, was also impressed with Virat Kohli’s performance as Test captain. Although he would not be drawn on the ‘one captain for all formats’ debate, the New Zealander’s regard for M. S. Dhoni was obvious.

John Wright is in Bengaluru serving his role as a talent scout for Mumbai Indians.   -  K Murali Kumar

John Wright feels there’s a place for Rohit Sharma among the top six batsmen in India in any form of the game.   -  PTI

John Wright believes that Rohit Sharma deserves to remain in the Indian Test team, irrespective of his existing record in the format.

Wright, who is in the city in his role as a talent scout for Mumbai Indians, coached the Indian Premier League side for two years, when he worked with the batsman.

“The thing about playing Test cricket is you want to feel at home in the team; you don’t want to be judged every time you go to the wicket, because you can’t express yourself properly,” he said at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday, as he watched Jharkhand take on Kerala in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

“Particularly in India, that’s a big thing. Sometimes players like Rohit — because they’re so brilliant in the way that they play, because of their shot-making ability — take more risks. I’m sure there’s a place for Rohit Sharma among the top six batsmen in India in any form of the game. Sometimes you’ve got to stick with players. I hope he succeeds at Test cricket because he’s a match-winner.”

All praise for Dhoni

Wright, who coached India for five years, was impressed with Virat Kohli’s performance as Test captain. Although he would not be drawn on the ‘one captain for all formats’ debate, the New Zealander’s regard for M. S. Dhoni was obvious.

“If I put my Mumbai Indians hat on, when Dhoni walks to the wicket, it’s a wicket you want to get,” he said. “It’s fantastic that Dhoni is playing domestic cricket. It’s a great signal for a start. Here’s someone who’s won World Cups, taken his country to No.1 in the Test rankings and he’s out playing for Jharkhand in a one-day competition and that says everything. He appears to be very motivated.”

Part and parcel of the game

Wright had no complaints over the pitches India rolled out for its recent home Test series against South Africa.

“From what I understand, one of the wickets turned quite a lot but the rest weren’t too bad,” he said.

“I know from my time here that if you went to South Africa, you wouldn’t get wickets that turned. And if you come to India you’ve got to expect that you’re going to get a rigorous examination with the turning ball.”

“It’s not impossible for overseas teams to win here but it’s pretty difficult. History has proved that. When a visiting team arrives, the first question you ask as an Indian coach is: ‘Do they have a quality spinner that can make life as difficult for us as we can for them?’”

“Obviously, India were much stronger in that department. The challenge will be when India goes back to South Africa — I imagine they’re going to get wickets with a bit of grass on (laughs). It’s just part and parcel of the game.”