New Zealand news July 19, 2013

John Buchanan to leave New Zealand cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former Australia coach John Buchanan has left his job as New Zealand's director of cricket after overseeing a turbulent two years. The announcement of Buchanan's departure came within minutes of NZC revealing its new selection procedure, where the national team coach will have final say over the picking of teams.

A NZC press release said Buchanan, whose contract ran till the 2015 World Cup, has moved out of the influential role "due to family circumstances", and that he would be moving back to Australia.

Buchanan's exit comes days after one of his controversial appointments, former Australia lawn bowls manager Kim Littlejohn, said he wouldn't be applying for an extension to his contract as national selector, which ends in September.

"Buchanan, who took up the role at NZC in May 2011, is disappointed to be leaving NZC at this time as he has enjoyed his work there. However, due to family circumstances, he has decided to return to Australia," the NZC release said. "Buchanan's return to Australia will give him the opportunity to explore other roles and consultancies with his business, Buchanan Success Coaching."

When he was appointed to the newly created role of director of cricket, Buchanan was told to employ "consistent coaching strategies and oversee the entire high-performance programme". His unconventional methods, including the recruitment of Littlejohn - a man with little cricket experience - as national selection manager, and the heavy reliance on statistics to guide team selections, were not to everyone's liking.

A year after Buchanan's appointment, the national coach John Wright stood down, saying his differences with Buchanan played a part in the decision. Seven months ago, Buchanan also admitted to a difficult relationship with NZC chief executive David White, mainly due to the controversial axing of Ross Taylor as captain. Around that time, the team was ranked below Bangladesh in ODIs, and were a lowly eighth in Tests and Twenty20s.

This was Buchanan's first major job in international cricket after eight years as Australia's coach, during which he oversaw a golden run including three World Cup victories and a dominant Test side.