July 12, 2001

New coach happy to have a low profile while helping players to their peaks

New CLEAR Black Caps coach Denis Aberhart will have no qualms about seeking expert advice to address any technical deficiencies among his players.

Aberhart commented on criticisms of continuing technical faults among New Zealand players in recent years after his appointment today.

"All players have technical things wrong at different times in their careers. All players have things they can improve, technically, mentally or physically.

"My role is securing people who can help them do that.

"No coach can know everything," he said.

Aberhart, who will take the New Zealand team to Pakistan for his first assignment, in September and October, will be quite happy to take a back seat in the public profile of the side.

"I hope Stephen Fleming will do all the talking to the media and the like.

"The game is about the players and I will assist the players to be the best they can be," he said.

Black Cap batsman Craig McMillan recalled that Aberhart was his first coach when he came into the Canterbury side at the start of his first-class career.

He said there was a winning philosophy in the side at the time under Aberhart.

"Losing wasn't an option with the team and he will bring his special traits to the New Zealand team.

"He's a people person and while he is a coach who can be a hard taskmaster, he can also be your friend," McMillan said.

"That's what I enjoyed most about him, he pushed you hard to reach the targets he had set. But you could also have some fun and talk about things other than cricket at the end of the day."

While McMillan said Aberhart would have something of a baptism of fire with Pakistan as his first tour, any tour was tough at the best of times.

Aberhart will be a selector of the national side as well. He believed that a coach needed to have some say in the selection of the players he wanted to play the game the way it was best played, with the resources available.

He is also keen to see the New Zealand team rid of its injury problems of last season because at full strength the side showed it had the ability to beat anyone.

More consistency in both Test match and One-Day Internationals had to be a goal, and that had not been possible last year due to the injury concerns.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge and doing my bit to lead the team forward," Aberhart said.

He said he was especially thankful for the support of his family, his employers at his school and to the Otago Volts for allowing him the chance to stay in the coaching frame last summer.