Wright feeling the pressure

  • Last Updated: February 23 2014, 19:05 GMT

Luke Wright is planning to vent his Australia frustrations on the West Indies, and prove he can be one of the match-winners England need to kickstart their post-Pietersen era.

Luke Wright: Eager to prove his worth
Luke Wright: Eager to prove his worth

Wright, who will be 29 one day after England arrive in Barbados next month, is hoping he has some one-day international runs under his belt by then to aid birthday celebrations.

There were precious few for him against Australia - only 17 in fact from three innings, as England completed their full set of series defeats down under this winter.

It was all the more galling for Wright that he had joined up confident he could help arrest England's slide on the back of his fine form for Melbourne Stars.

"I think that was the most frustrating for me, going into that Australia series," he said.

"I'd watched [the Tests and one-dayers] the whole way through and seen how disappointingly we'd played, and I felt in great nick from the 'Big Bash' going into it and had played well against all the bowlers I was going to face for Australia.

"To then not do it was the most frustrated I've probably been in my career.

"It was so annoying and disappointing to come away from that performing badly ... I've got to put that right."

England Twenty20 captain Stuart Broad has been at pains, when quizzed about the controversial end of record runscorer Kevin Pietersen's international career, to point out there are still several potential match-winners in his team.

Wright is among those at the top of that list, with a strike rate of approaching 140 in almost a half-century of Twenty20 internationals to date.

He and others did not show their true colours in Australia, but Wright is determined to heed Broad's call to start doing so here - initially in three ODIs in Antigua and then three Twenty20s in Barbados before England travel on to Bangladesh for a 'World Cup' in the shortest format.

"Like anyone, obviously you're always surprised," the Sussex all-rounder said of England's decision to call time on Pietersen.

"We know how good KP has been over a long period for England.

"But as Broady has said to us all, it's time for us to move on and stake our own claim.

"There are places up for grabs, and this trip is a great opportunity for a lot of us.

"We knew we weren't good enough in Australia in all the different formats, and I knew in the Twenty20 period I didn't come in and do well enough.

"It's time to step up now."

Wright has done his fair share of head-scratching about misfiring down under. He has not necessarily come up with any new answers, but relishes the chance to put things right.

"We weren't good enough," he said.

"All you can do is go back, work hard and try to get some more confidence.

"That's exactly what we've got to do on this trip ... to go into that 'World Cup' with some belief again.

"You walk away as a player and say 'why didn't you take those moments?' when you should have won games.

"I've been asking (myself) that over the last three weeks since I left Australia.

"Sometimes you can't put your finger on it, and that's the hardest thing as a cricketer."

England's resurgence must be immediate if it is to take effect in time for the exacting trip to Bangladesh.

"The only way really is winning games and performing," he said.

"That's why this tour is so important, leading into a 'World Cup'.

"Winning games is such a confidence-builder, and the momentum when you're losing just seems to stick to you - especially in Twenty20."

Wright is convinced England have players who can take on the best, even without Pietersen.

"Definitely," he said.

"Going back to that Twenty20 squad, you look round the room when you're in the meetings and you just think 'so much power' ... the England guys who'd played in the 'Big Bash' had been the outstanding players in the competition.

"You know there are people there who can do it, and we have before."

For good measure, he has already had his pep talk here from a car full of fanatics with his and England's best interests at heart.

A group of 'Barmy Army' supporters gave Wright a lift from airport to hotel after his car missed its rendez-vous on Friday - and a frank but friendly exchange passed the journey time.

"Their flight from Manchester pulled in just behind mine from Miami, and my car didn't turn up - so it was nice of the 'Barmy Army' to drop me off ... and give me a good grilling on the way here of what they weren't happy with in the winter," he said.

"They probably asked more questions than here today actually. It was a long 45-minute drive.

"They were quite tough, but they were good ... and happy to find out what Mitchell Johnson is like to face.

"We need to be putting smiles back on their faces."


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