Wright made his international debut against England in 1978 and retired in 1993. He was decent success in both forms of the game with over 5,000 Test runs averaging 37.82 with the help of 12 Test centuries. 10 of Wright's 12 tons were registered in New Zealand. In ODIs he scored close to 4,000 runs and accumulated 25,000 runs in his first-class career. He also played for Derbyshire. Wright mostly opened for the Kiwis and was a dogged batsman more in the Rahul Dravid mould. This former India coach was known for his unorthodox batting stance; he used to stand with his bat parallel to the ground. In addition to being the Indian coach, Wright also served as the coach of the World XI team that took on Australia in the much-hyped ICC Super Series 2005. The tournament turned out to be a disaster as the World Team lost both the Test and the ODIs.
While playing for New Zealand he opened the batting for his team and was popular for tenacity and concentration. He had a nickname "shake" which came from his strong and technically perfect batting style. He, along with Bruce Edgar, formed a potent opening pair for New Zealand which later turned out to be reliable and successful opening pair. He became the second player in the history to score eight runs in one ball, running four and collecting four over throws. Towards the fag end of his career he developed a different batting style. He retired from international cricket in the year 1993.
After bidding adieu to international cricket, he took up a career in sales. Though he continued in that filed for two long years but the interest soon died down. His first stint in coaching was with the Kent County Club and later joined the Indian Cricket Team as the head coach. During his tenure as India coach, team reached unbelievable heights and his partnership with then India captain Saurav Ganguly was fruitful and successful at the same time. He was a prolific man manager and was successful in bringing the tam together, which was pretty much evident from the performance of the team during his days as coach. The historic test match between India and Australia at Eden Gardens, which India went on to win even after asked to follow on, still remains fresh in the minds if cricket lovers. That set the tone and India started to win Test Matches abroad. Wining the Nattwest finals in England, the joint winner of Mini World Cup in 2002, and reaching the final of the ICC World Cup 2003 were some of the highlights of his coaching careers. With Wright at the helm India won both the Test and ODI series against Pakistan in Pakistan.
He wrote two books. He wrote "Christmas in Rarotonga" in 1990, together with Paul Thomas. In 2006, he wrote his second autobiography titled "John Wright's Indian Summers", where he penned down his experiences as India Coach.
After trying out various on and off assignments on cricket commentary, John Wright on December 20th 2010 was appointed as New Zealand coach. Under him New Zealand showed tremendous success and reached the semi-finals of ICC World Cup 2011.