SPORT

Wright gets what he wanted

CHENNAI Sept. 21. India coach John Wright, who was here to watch the TVS-Irani Cup contest, was pleased that the match was tough and competitive. "This is what we needed," he said.

He was happy with the form of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman in the game, and called L. Balaji's knock as a nightwatchman, "a tremendous effort."

"Mumbai deserve a lot of praise. They fought very hard. It was a tight game," he said.

On the subject of openers, the coach said "It's an area under scrutiny." Wright was happy with the progress made by injured left-arm paceman Aashish Nehra, and added young pacemen such as Balaji and Avishkar Salvi had an opportunity to break into the squad. On wicket-keepers, Wright said, "Parthiv Patel is in the forefront."

Mumbai captain Sachin Tendulkar was happy with the performance of the younger cricketers in the team like Ramesh Powar. "This is one of the best games that I have played in," he said.

Tendulkar complimented Dravid and Laxman for their batting, but said his spinners were happier operating with a harder ball. Tendulkar had no complaints about a pitch that had seam movement for the pacemen and purchase for the spinners.

Man of the Match Rahul Dravid said, "It was a tough day and was hard on bowlers. We wanted to stay as long as possible." The ace batsman agreed his Sunday hundred was among the most intense knocks he had produced in domestic cricket.

The Karnataka player singled out Laxman and Balaji for praise and said "it was a great game of cricket."

Dravid hoped that a strong Rest of India side would continue to be picked for the Irani Trophy since "the Ranji Trophy champions have to be shown the respect they deserve."

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