Chennai: New Zealand coach John Wright is not yet ready to label India as the firm favourites to win
the World Cup and said that coping with the huge pressure of playing in front of the home crowd would be crucial for Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men to lift the coveted trophy.
Wright confessed that he still follows Indian cricket even after leaving the coaching job six years ago but said it was not his job to tell the world that Dhoni and his men are the top dogs to win the trophy.
"Pressure of playing at home is certainly something that India will have to deal with it. There can be a huge advantage with it when it is going well. But if they are not, you know, it could be a factor. It is something one understands with reality and deal with it. It is as simple as that," Wright said at a press conference ahead of his side`s warm-up game against India here tomorrow.
"As for maturity in them, let us see. They are playing very good cricket. We will know in two months," said Wright who was India coach from 2000 to 2005.
"I still watch and follow them. To be honest, it is good to be here and play against them tomorrow. I would not be doing my job and it is tough for me to provide predictions about. They look after themselves and I have got enough to do with my players," said the former Kiwi opening batsman.
Wright talked about the negative reactions he had garnered from Indian fans whenever the team played badly during his tenure.
"It is a fact that you have to deal with it. It is part of your life when you play in your own country. It goes as far as family and friends and expectations are there even when you walk through the airports. It is something that the Indian team will have to deal with it," he said.
Wright also made it clear that his plate is full currently and he is not thinking of coming back to India to take over the coaching job once Gary Kristen leaves after the World Cup.
"I think as a coach it is not good to look too far ahead. I am not even thinking of anything other than this tournament. You know coaching is tough and you make this team or that team you are sometimes judged by the results. This is a tough assignment. I am really thinking hard about New Zealand team in the World Cup. None of those things really crossing in my mind and you cannot afford to," he said.
Wright also felt that India`s new ball bowler Zaheer Khan has improved by leaps and bounds from the time he had left the coaching assignment.
"He has done really well. I had him with me right at the start of his career. He had learnt the importance of fitness and bowling well from just hard work. His injuries are fact of life. He always had huge talent and now he looks to me a lot stronger. He is now very clever with what he could do with his swings. I imagine Zaheer and his teammates take an enormous amount of satisfaction from where he started and where he is now. It is credit to him, to be honest."