Chennai, Feb 15 (PTI) New Zealand coach John Wright isnot yet ready to label India as the firm favourites to winthe World Cup and said that coping with the huge pressure ofplaying in front of the home crowd would be crucial forMahendra Singh Dhoni''s men to lift the coveted trophy.
Wright confessed that he still follows Indian cricketeven after leaving the coaching job six years ago but said itwas not his job to tell the world that Dhoni and his men arethe top dogs to win the trophy.
"Pressure of playing at home is certainly something thatIndia will have to deal with it. There can be a huge advantagewith it when it is going well. But if they are not, you know,it could be a factor. It is something one understands withreality and deal with it. It is as simple as that," Wrightsaid at a press conference ahead of his side''s warm-up gameagainst India here tomorrow.
"As for maturity in them, let us see. They are playingvery good cricket. We will know in two months," said Wrightwho was India coach from 2000 to 2005.
"I still watch and follow them. To be honest, it is goodto be here and play against them tomorrow. I would not bedoing my job and it is tough for me to provide predictionsabout. They look after themselves and I have got enough to dowith my players," said the former Kiwi opening batsman.
Wright talked about the negative reactions he hadgarnered from Indian fans whenever the team played badlyduring his tenure.
"It is a fact that you have to deal with it. It is partof your life when you play in your own country. It goes as faras family and friends and expectations are there even when youwalk through the airports. It is something that the Indianteam will have to deal with it," he said.
Wright also made it clear that his plate is fullcurrently and he is not thinking of coming back to India totake over the coaching job once Gary Kristen leaves after theWorld 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 teamyou are sometimes judged by the results. This is a toughassignment. I am really thinking hard about New Zealand teamin the World Cup. None of those things really crossing in mymind and you cannot afford to," he said.
Wright also felt that India''s new ball bowler Zaheer Khanhas improved by leaps and bounds from the time he had left thecoaching assignment.
"He has done really well. I had him with me right at thestart of his career. He had learnt the importance of fitnessand bowling well from just hard work. His injuries are fact oflife. He always had huge talent and now he looks to me a lotstronger. He is now very clever with what he could do with hisswings. I imagine Zaheer and his teammates take an enormousamount of satisfaction from where he started and where he isnow. It is credit to him, to be honest." .