In his time as coach of India (2000-2005), John Wright always emphasised on the need of performing well on the trot. If a batsman got a hundred in one game, he challenged him to get another in the next encounter.
Considering Wright’s stress on consistency of this kind, he was over the moon that Mumbai Indians won the Champions League T20 on Sunday after the Indian Premier League last May.
The New Zealander spoke to MiD DAY on the playing XI which beat Rajasthan Royals in the CLT20 final at Delhi.
ROHIT SHARMA (33 off 14 balls)
He’s probably one of the most elegant players I’ve seen. He not only led well on the field, he also led well with his batting. Captaincy and leadership just seem to sit well with him. He’s a very special talent. Everyone knows that. Hopefully, that talent will hold him in good stead.
SACHIN TENDULKAR (15 off 13 balls)
What a fitting way to finish off (his T20 career)! Sachin epitomises our franchise really. Sunday was a special night for all of us and to be with him in his last game for us was extra special.
HARBHAJAN SINGH (man of the match with 4-32)
Bhajji has a special place for me because of the 2001 series against Australia in which he got those 32 wickets. He’s a great fighter and competitor. The game was on the line on Sunday and he turned the match for us. When Bhajji is in a corner, he’s going to fight his way out of it and that’s what you want to see – the fight.
DINESH KARTHIK (15 not out off 5 balls)
Moving him down the order has worked for us. Sometimes, you need to shuffle the pack a bit. When Karthik goes out in a situation where he has to hit the ball, he looks a high-class batsman. He’s one of the best strikers in our team and mind you, we have some very good strikers of the cricket ball.
KIERON POLLARD (15 off 10 balls) and DWAYNE SMITH (44 off 39 balls)
No, no! (when asked whether he hoped for a better show from Pollard) Polly has been a big part of our team. We have been very pleased with the way Smithy (Dwayne Smith) and Polly have contributed. It was all about self belief. Smithy was consistent and to have that consistency at the top order was very valuable for us.
AMBATI RAYUDU (29 off 24 balls)
His 29 went a bit unnoticed with Dwayne at the top and Rohit, who played a great innings. Rayudu is a high quality player and I am hopeful they pick him for India in all forms of the game. We put him at No 3, but he can adapt to any situation just about as well as anyone in our side.
GLENN MAXWELL (37 off 14 balls)
The two sixes proves the kind of material he has. He is great to have in the team – a wonderful team man. He sat out of a lot of games so it was good to see him score runs on Sunday. His innings of 37 was very special.
PRAGYAN OJHA (1-26)
The hardest thing is to come (into a tournament) not playing enough of cricket. Bhajji and Ojha were a bit rusty, but got stronger as the tournament went on.
At one stage, we had only a small chance of making the semi-finals. We were thrown a lifeline and we took it. And then, we won a final… tremendous.
Both spinners were outstanding - great one-day spinners.
NATHAN COULTER-NILE (clean bowled Dravid for 1)
He just keeps improving. He gelled well with Mitchell Johnson, his Western Australia teammate. We knew how good Nathan was but you have to do it on the field and particularly on wickets which are slow. We’ve seen him grow as a cricketer and he’s going to be strong on the international front. You will hear a lot more about him.
RISHI DHAWAN (0-34)
We have some established players, but we also have these young boys and we hope we can hold on to them. It is very important to have good quality on the bench. Robin Singh and Paras Mhambrey have done a fine job here. Rishi went for runs on Sunday, but you must keep backing your players.
MITCHELL JOHNSON (didn’t play the final)
It was really tough leaving Mitch out and he was a huge contributor to our IPL success. I thought the wicket in Delhi was a little bit slower and we wanted to play Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) on Sunday night because we didn’t want to be short in the batting department.
Wright’s final thoughts:
We worked well as a team under the leadership of Anil Kumble. We hope we keep this team together and win some more titles. The boys showed that they were always hungry for success. And that was the most satisfying part to see. Hopefully, it will be no different next year. Sometimes success can be your biggest enemy so you must stay hungry.