Sunday, October 25, 2009

No hurry to replace NZ cricket coach

The New Zealand cricket team are without a coach for the rest of this year and a fulltime replacement for Andy Moles may not be found until after the home summer.

While a clutch of home-grown names have been thrown up as interim options to replace Moles, who was forced to resign yesterday, it appears likely captain Daniel Vettori will act as coach for the team's next two series.

Vettori is preparing for the extra responsibility in next month's limited overs series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, followed by a home Test series against the same opponents.

However, he told NZPA he doesn't want the role beyond then, with the Black Caps hosting Bangladesh and Australia from February.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Justin Vaughan wants the stormy fallout of this week to fade before turning his thoughts to a fulltime replacement.

He said it was "reasonable" to assume Vettori would remain player-coach for the home Test series starting in a month.

Beyond that there is the option of a temporary appointment but Vaughan won't speculate on some of the names already bandied about, such as former captains John Wright and Stephen Fleming.

"There's a lot of thinking that needs to be done and a lot of dust needs to settle in the wake of this week's events," Vaughan told NZPA.

"We're trying to get to grips with how this team can kick on.

"Andy's departure was the final consequence of a wide-ranging review into how the team is and isn't operating at present."

Another outcome was the removal of wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum from his vice-captaincy duties, with Vaughan keen for a group of senior players to share leadership duties below Vettori.

Assistant coach Mark O'Donnell will continue to help run practice for the 15-man squad on their five-match tour of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They leave on Tuesday.

Vettori was reluctant to look far beyond that series but said he would seek consultation when the coach appointment process begins.

"Maybe I have a strong say in too much at the moment," he laughed.

"But whenever that happens, it needs to be a thorough process because we don't want to get ourselves in a similar situation."

Vettori reluctantly used the word "relief" to describe his reaction to Moles' forced resignation yesterday.

He said while the Englishman's coaching style hadn't worked with New Zealand, it was no reflection on the regard he held him in and he was saddened by how the process had publicly unfolded.

Vettori reiterated the controversial ousting of the coach hadn't been player-driven.

"I don't think players have that much power," he said. "They have the ability to give an opinion but in the end it's an organisational decision and it's come from a number of areas."

Vaughan didn't want to "dredge up" what Moles' perceived shortcomings were and had no regrets over his appointment last November when several other candidates withdrew.

"It is always going to be a step to go from domestic cricket to being coach of one of the big eight international teams, just as it is for a player," said Vaughan.

"NZC was aware of areas the team needed to improve.

"Certainly following Sri Lanka and the Champions Trophy, many of those concerns had been magnified and extended."

Moles' departure ironically comes in the wake of New Zealand's best performance of the past year, reaching the final of the Champions Trophy.

The well-travelled coach did not believe player power had escalated but he stressed the importance of choosing a strong-willed successor.

"They need a coach who's going to be really forceful and a guy who perhaps will be allowed to come in and run the show by himself," he said.

"Obviously my brand of coaching wasn't the type of coaching that these players desired and I understand that."

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