John Wright to coach IPL's Mumbai Indians
New Zealand's loss is Indian cricket's gain, again.
Former New Zealand cricket coach and captain John Wright is on the comeback trail and will return to India to coach in the Indian Premier League this season.
Wright was announced today (NZ time) as head coach of the Mumbai Indians franchise for the sixth edition of the lucrative Twenty20 competition, which begins on April 3.
The former opening batsman had a successful stint as coach of the Indian team from 2000-2005 and guided his home country for 18 months until July last year before he stepped down citing irreconcilable differences in philosophy with New Zealand's director of cricket, John Buchanan.
Wright is highly regarded in India, having presided over a successful period for the national team in both test and one-day cricket - they won a home test series against Australia, drew an away series in Australia, and reached the final of the 2003 World Cup during his tenure.
He will link again with Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar and offspinner Harbhajan Singh, while former Indian legspinner Anil Kumble is the team's mentor and bowling coach, having recently been appointed to that role.
International players at the Mumbai outfit include outstanding Sri Lankan quick Lasith Malinga, big-hitting West Indian Kieron Pollard, and New Zealand allrounder James Franklin.
Commenting on Wright's appointment, which comes a week out from the 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 semi-finals of the last World Cup."
The team's former head coach, Robin Singh, will continue to be associated with the team.
The popular Wright has maintained a low profile since cutting ties with the Black Caps seven months ago.
His successor, a comparative coaching rookie in Mike Hesson, has had a turbulent time in the hot seat. There has been a test win in Sri Lanka and a one-day international series victory in South Africa, but the messy fallout over his decision to take the captaincy off Ross Taylor, and how is was conducted, has overshadowed those feats.
- © Fairfax NZ News