John Wright may have been diminutive in stature, but there is no doubt of the giant contribution he made to Irish cricket.

Wright helped transform Irish cricket from a lowly position into a major force that would eventually gain Full Membership status.

As Ger Siggins stated after his death at the age of 65 in 2008, "His understated style and political acumen helped Ireland to make rapid progress and his jovial nature made him an extremely popular figure.

"When he took over as honorary secretary of the Irish Cricket Union it was a small, unambitious organisation content to play a fixture list heavy with friendlies against the likes of the MCC and the Duchess of Norfolk's X1.

"When he stepped down ten years later, Cricket Ireland was a professional body whose flagship team had reached the last eight of the World Cup, ranking ahead of Zimbabwe.

"It was an often tempestuous road, but Wright's charm and consensus-seeking approach carried the organisation through, no mean feat in a body that brings together people from all traditions."

Wright made friends easily, and delighted as he recalled the occasion when legendary West Indian Brian Lara bought him a drink. Wright was sitting alone in the pavilion in Barbados after Ireland's heavy defeat to Australia when Lara walked over.

"He said to me 'I understand it's one of those days you want to go and have breakfast again and pretend that hasn't happened'!"

Synonymous with the Malahide club, his cricket career was by his own admission modest, as a middle-order batsman and left-arm slow bowler which gave him the nickname "lefty" Wright.

He served as club secretary and as delegate to the Leinster Cricket Union and ICU, later serving as president of both the LCU and ICU, before assuming the secretary's post.

With Wright at the helm, recovered from a disastrous 2001 ICC Trophy to become a major force.

His political skill saw Ireland gain entry to the InterContinental Cup as well as hosting the ICC Trophy.

With Ireland starting to move to a professional set-up, Wright stepped down from ICU duties in 2007, and the following summer was awarded with an ICC Global Award on his retirement, when the ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told him:

"There is no doubt that your efforts have formed a significant part of the successes that Ireland has enjoyed in recent years."

Following his death in 2008, tributes poured in from across the cricketing world, highlighting the esteem in which Wright was held.

In his obituary in the Irish Cricket Annual, Robin Walsh wrote: "More than anyone, John Wright took Irish cricket out of the realms of parochialism to the spotlight of the world stage and Ireland's first appearance at the World Cup finals.

"John realised two things were vital for Irish cricket - matches against top opposition and money. The behind-closed-doors political animal with his rare judgement and ever present, and at times enigmatic, smile saw to both."

Former Cricket Ireland President and Chairman Joe Doherty said of Wright.

"Cricket has lost a great friend today. The abiding memory that I will have of John Wright is his friendship. His friendship to all who came in contact with him in cricket at all levels, his friendship to club representatives and provincial delegates and his personal friendship to me.

"I could not have wished for a better administrator to work with and I could not have accompanied a more skilled negotiator and personable ambassador for Irish cricket, especially in the corridors of the sport's ruling body, ICC.

"We are now reaping the benefit of all the years of campaigning, cajoling and charm offensive that John delivered on our behalf and the onus is now on us not to squander the fortune of international goodwill that he has amassed for us. 

"It was awesome to see him at work and he always made it look so easy. He always had time for the social side of the game as well and was always able to put cricket results in perspective in the context of life. That life has now come to its earthly end, but his legacy is rich and his example is an inspiration."

When Ireland played their maiden Test at his beloved Malahide in 2018, there were many tears shed for absent friends, and none more so than wee John.