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Harsh Kalan in Pune 10 May 2013 - 06:43pm IST

There are no weak teams in IPL: Wright

MI coach says his team will not take PWI lightly

As the race for the IPL 2013 Play-Offs heats up, the Mumbai Indians will be hoping to secure their passage into the next phase by overcoming Pune Warriors India this Saturday.

While the Expressway rivals have had markedly different fortunes this season, MI coach, John Wright, insisted that his team cannot not afford to take PWI lightly.

Wright also emphasised the fact that there are no easy opponents in the IPL and that a bottom-placed team like PWI could also prove quite a handful.

With the tournament getting into the business end, the MI coach said that the team needs to carry forth their exceptional form at home to away games in their bid to get to a comfortable position as far as the Play-Offs are concerned.

Here are excerpts of John Wright’s pre-game presser in Pune:

On the race for the top two spots getting stiffer

We are three-quarters of the way through the tournament. There is still a lot of cricket to play. We have got four matches in a short period of time. And for us, we got a good last week. We have just got to carry that through away from home to play well here. And let us see what happens.

On PWI as opponents

Well, I don’t think there are any easy teams in this competition and some of our games proved that. We know that if you want to do well through the length of this tournament, you have got to play well. We want to get two points out of this game. We want to play well in these conditions. That will help us. I think it is important to respect every team you play against in this competition. If you don’t, it can lead to big trouble. So, let us see, if we start well, either with the bat or ball that will help us.

On his experience as a T20 coach

It is different. I have been enormously impressed with the league as a competitive league. As I said, there are no easy teams and no easy games; there are eight other such teams. We had to fight real hard to get where we are, and we are still going into the last week with no assurances, unless we win games. So there is always pressure for everyone. I have been really impressed with the commitment of the sides and the players. IPL is a tough league. It looks like the nearest thing that cricket has to some of the big football leagues.

On changes in coaching style for this format

I have had to learn. It is different because you don’t know the players you are working with and then get them together in a very short period of time. We have tried doing things that are simple. We have tried giving the players an environment where they can express themselves on the field and keep it really simple. We know that we have got players to win matches and it is just a matter of bonding the team. And if you look at the people that I work with, I have got Ricky (Ponting), I have got Anil (Kumble). We have got a good support crew. We have got Jonty, Robin Singh, who have enormous experience in this league.

On adjusting to conditions in Pune

We have the afternoon game on Saturday, so the wicket is going to be different. We have got some problems to solve. We have been very strong in Mumbai, but these are different conditions, and if we can put it together for Saturday, it will be good for our confidence leading into next week and thereafter.

On experimenting with the line-up

We try and pick our best team. We are not at that stage where we can pick different combinations. The only combination we can look at is to try and get the right combination for the next game.

On Sachin going strong post 40

Well, I think he is past that problematic age of 39 (laughs). Life begins at 40. We were really please with the way he played in the last game – not necessarily the runs he got, but the way he played was good for us. And I think that will be really helpful on slow-wicket conditions. 

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