England all-rounder Luke Wright admitted that he was amazed and shocked when batting legend Sachin Tendulkar had called up him to play for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
“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,” Wright said on the first episode of Wisden and CricViz’s The Greatest T20 podcast.
“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.
“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.”
The veteran of 101 internationals sadi that he signed an IPL contract when he began being pushed down the batting order thereby putting his England chances in jeopardy. He played only seven games for now-defunct Pune Warriors India.
“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.”