Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wright Keen To Improve

Luke Wright smashed a career-best score to inflict further damage on MCC on Saturday at Lord's and break his mould as a one-day specialist.

All-rounder Wright's previous impact on the match between the 2007 county champions Sussex and a representative XI containing aspiring England players had been to deliver the ball which poleaxed tail-ender Steve Kirby.

And his impact on cricket in general had come in limited-overs action, for which he has gained international recognition.

So his knock of 155 not out, which comfortably surpassed his previous first-class high of 100 against Loughborough University four years ago, in Sussex's 474 for five, represented the perfect start to the 2008 season.

"I just want to try to build on what has happened in the winter and kick on again this summer - this is a good start,"

said Wright, whose England caps came on the back of his exceptional Twenty20 form last summer.

"It is time to concentrate improving my form in Championship-mode, try to break in as a top-six batter and be a true all-rounder.

"Just to be with England is so special but once you get a taste you want to keep playing."

England's hierarchy believe Wright has the potential to improve as a fast-bowling option and he has certainly bowled with pace and hostility in this season curtain-raiser.

A shoulder injury, for which he has received injections, has stymied his pre-season appearances but he looked the part with the ball against the MCC, who trail by 440 runs going into the final day.

His bouncer hurried Owais Shah into a mistake yesterday and another short ball had another decisive effect on the match when Kirby was felled attempting to rock out of the way.

Kirby, 30, was knocked unconscious and passed out again after being escorted to the pavilion.

Thankfully, however, after a night of monitoring in the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, Wright's former Leicestershire colleague was released, fed by Lord's famous kitchen and sent home to rest.

"I have seen Kirbs today, we've had a little hug and he's fine about it,"

Wright added.

"I am sure I will get a few back at some point.

"I know him really well, since being a kid, so I am sure we will have a drink and a laugh about it at some point now he's okay.

"I had never seen anything like that in cricket, so it shook me up quite a lot at the time.

"Once he got off the pitch I thought that was it but to go and see him in the changing room - and him being out on the floor - was obviously quite scary."

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