Wright takes reins at Mumbai Indians

John Wright is returning to India, this time as head coach of powerful Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians.

Wright was named coach yesterday, six months after stepping down as New Zealand coach where he cited irreconcilable differences in philosophy with director of cricket John Buchanan.

Wright enjoyed a successful stint as coach of the Indian team from 2000-2005, highlighted by a home test series victory against Australia and reaching the final of the 2003 World Cup.

It was there he forged lifelong friendships with many of the Indian greats and at Mumbai he will link again with master batsman Sachin Tendulkar and offspinner Harbhajan Singh, while former Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble is the team's mentor and bowling coach.

International players at the Mumbai outfit include outstanding Sri Lankan quick Lasith Malinga, big-hitting West Indian Kieron Pollard, and New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin.

Wright arrived in Mumbai yesterday and now has to prepare for this weekend's IPL player auction.

Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani said: "It's a great pleasure to have John on board with Mumbai Indians. John is immensely respected and I am sure his cricketing knowledge and experience will be of enormous help."

Nita Ambani is the wife of one of the richest men in the world, Mukesh Ambani, founder of Reliance Industries. Forbes magazine estimate he is worth US$27 billion.

A Mumbai Indians statement said: "During his time in India, John was instrumental in India's rise up in the international table including finishing finalist in the 2003 World Cup. In the relatively brief period he had been in charge of the Black Caps, the Kiwis improved upon its performance reaching the semifinals of the last World Cup."

Wright could not be reached for comment last night.

Contact Jonathan Millmow
Sports editor
Email: jonathan.millmow@dompost.co.nz

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