Kolkata: Luke Wright, one of England’s most well known brand ambassadors in franchise cricket, feels that the 50-overs world champions has it in them to be considered as one of the favourites for the T20 World Cup later this year in India.
‘‘There is no reason why they shouldn’t be considered as one of the favourites. England can now produce two to three white ball teams as they have so much depth of talent in players like Tom Banton, Ben Duckett and the likes,’’ said Wright, now in the UAE as captain of Team Abu Dhabi in the ongoing Alubond Abu Dhabi T10 League.
Speaking to Gulf News exclusively on zoom, Wright attributed the revolution in shorter formats in his country a lot to Eoin Morgan, the captain under whom England ended their barren run in ICC World Cup as well as Andrew Strauss, the erstwhile Director of Cricket in England & Wales Cricket Board. ‘‘Strauss saw the benefits of allowing England players for franchise leagues,’’ said the 35-year-old Wright, who himself had a short stint in IPL with Pune Warriors.
Currently the T20 captain of Sussex, Wright has signed a new contract with them which will see him remain at Hove until at least the end of the 2023 season. He was the club’s top run-scorer in the 2020 Vitality Blast and the third-highest in the competition as the Sharks made it through to their third quarter-final in as many years. Only Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond and Middlesex’s Stevie Eskinazi were ahead of him.
Asked about the road ahead in his cricketing career, Wright said the priority for him now is to maintain his longevity as a cricketer. ‘‘At this stage of my career, I am not really looking at playing for England anymore but to prolong my career as a professional cricketer,’’ he said.
This is the third season for him in the T10 league, with Wright having a decent run with the bat for Team Abu Dhabi in 2019 (when he got 208 runs from six matches) while he assisted Bengal Tigers in 2018.
‘‘This format is really going from strength to strength, and I must thank all parties concerned for putting up the tournament under such trying circumstances,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s also nice to see the UAE cricketers helping their teams. We saw (Chirag) Suri doing it today,’’ Wright said, referring to the UAE vice-captain’s cameo effort for the Tigers en route to victory on Monday.
The unpredictable nature of the game, however, saw Team Abu Dhabi losing their first match in the Super League in the last over to Northern Warriors. ‘‘Overall, a good game of cricket but unfortunately, we finished on the wrong side of it,’’ said Wright, who scored a feisty 33 in the match.