Thought Sachin’s call to ask me to play for Mumbai was a prank, reveals Luke Wright

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Luke Wright recalled how he mistook Sachin's call as a prank

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Thought Sachin’s call to ask me to play for Mumbai was a prank, reveals Luke Wright

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SportsCafe Desk

05/28/2020

English all-rounder Luke Wright, who played for Pune Warriors in the IPL, revealed how he once mistook Sachin Tendulkar’s request to play for Mumbai Indians as a prank. Wright further revealed that the ECB had told him that playing in the IPL would mark the end of his England career.

A utility cricketer who packed a punch with the bat and was capable of sliding in many a useful over with the ball, Luke Wright, after making inroads in domestic cricket, burst onto the international scene in 2007 and scored an impressive fifty against India on ODI debut. And despite not really taking international cricket by the scruff of its neck, the all-rounder, remained a giant in the domestic scene and his uncanny match-winning ability saw him being sought-after by T20 franchises across the world. 

Speaking on Wisden and CricViz’s ‘The Greatest T20 podcast’, the all-rounder revealed a funny incident back in the day, when Mumbai Indians Sachin Tendulkar had personally called the English all-rounder up to ask him to play for the franchise. Wright revealed that he genuinely thought that, at the first instance, he was being pranked by his teammates, before actually realizing that the person on the other end was indeed Sachin. 

“I remember missing out on one of the IPLs actually. I thought it was a joke – Sachin Tendulkar rang me to go and play for the Mumbai Indians in one of the first IPLs, and I obviously thought it was the lads taking the mick,” said Wright on the Greatest T20 podcast.

However, the 35-year-old then went on to reveal that after talking about the same to the ECB, the board denied both him and Ravi Bopara permission to play in the IPL and stated that such a move would mark the end of their England careers. The ECB, during the late 2000s and the early 2010s, had a strict policy against allowing its players to partake in the IPL, except for the exception of Kevin Pietersen.

“I remember talking to the ECB about it, and it was me and Ravi Bopara both got told that if we were to go, we would be pretty much giving up playing for England. Whereas you look now and England are paying their compensations to go and play. I don’t think back then they appreciated that sharing the dressing room [would be like] with, well Sachin obviously for one.”

Eventually, though, Wright did end up playing in the IPL, after being snapped up by Pune Warriors in 2012,  and reflecting on the experience, the all-rounder revealed how the whole couple of months was a big learning experience for him, with him spending ample time picking the brains of the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Aaron Finch and Ross Taylor. Wright stated that he got better as a player with age due to the experiences he got and admitted that he would have wished to have gotten such exposure even before he played international cricket for England.

“When I went to Pune, you got Yuvraj [Singh], [Aaron] Finch, Angelo Mathews, [Ross] Taylor, you can reel off all these names, and you just stood there in the nets, learning how they go about it, asking questions, they’re giving you tips, and that was just huge for me as a learning curve, and you’re then playing in different conditions. In terms of learning, it’s the best. It’s under pressure, you’re there as an overseas player, people expect you to perform, but you are learning,” Wright said.

“I think, I became a far better player probably when I was 27, 28 because of those experiences than at times when I was playing for England. If I had been able to have the experience with these franchises and different leagues before playing for England, which a lot of the players are doing either during or before, now, is such an advantage.”

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