Getting to Know: John Wright

Wednesday 19th October 2016
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Former Derbyshire opening batsman and overseas star, John Wright, is returning to The 3aaa County Ground as the Club’s Twenty20 Specialist Coach for the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast campaign.

He will be back at Derbyshire 29 years after he left in 1988, having turned out for the Club for 12 seasons, scored almost 15,000 runs and earned himself an MBE from the Queen.

Upon retirement from the professional game in 1993, he was itching to get back in the game and eventually took up the Head Coach position at Kent in 1997. In that season, Kent were runners up in the County Championship, the Benson and Hedges Cup and the National League.

His exploits at Kent soon saw him move into international coaching. India legend Rahul Dravid played for Kent in 2000 and was to coach him again soon after when he was appointed as India’s Head Coach, having impressed the BCCI in his interview to beat the experienced Geoff Marsh and Greg Chappell to the position.

Five successful years with India followed, during which time he forged an outstanding working relationship with Captain Saurav Ganguly to oversee notable wins over strong Australian, Pakistani and English sides. He oversaw India’s first ever series with in Pakistan.

Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag all progressed into the India Test tea under Wright’s stewardship and have since gone on to forge successful international careers on the back of his coaching.

Wright resigned his position in 2005 to be closer to his family in New Zealand, but still coached the ICC World XI in a Test match and an ODI that year, before taking up smaller coaching roles within the Black Caps set up.

His country asked him to take up the Head Coach role in December 2010, with the 2011 ICC World Cup looming large. New Zealand reached the semi-finals of the competition and later defeated Australia in an away Test match for the first time in 26 years.

In 2013, Wright was appointed as the Head Coach of Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and, in his first year in the job, led the franchise to their first ever IPL title. In the same year, they also claimed the Champions League Twenty20 trophy.

Ricky Ponting replaced Wright as Head Coach for the 2015 competition but retained Wright in a consultancy role, overseeing talent recruitment and coaching.

Looking back at Wright’s distinguished playing career that spanned 18 years, he played a total of 82 Test matches for New Zealand and became the first Black Caps batsman to reach 5,000 runs in the format.

In addition to his first-class experience with Derbyshire, Wright played for Northern Districts, Canterbury and Auckland in New Zealand, and finished his career with a total of 25,073 first-class runs, in addition to over 10,000 in one-day cricket.

Left-hander Wright sits as Derbyshire’s joint fourth-highest century-maker in first-class cricket, having raised his bat 27 times in red-ball cricket for the county for whom he averaged 44.14 with the bat.

Wright will assume his new position at Derbyshire three weeks before the start of the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast, with the sole intention of improving the Club’s fortunes in the format.

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