July 1, 2003

Aberhart withdraws from New Zealand coaching race

New Zealand will have a new cricket coach next season.

Incumbent coach Denis Aberhart has withdrawn from the application process which would have either confirmed his hold on the position, or replaced him.

Aberhart, coach of New Zealand since August 2001, said he is going to pursue other opportunities away from cricket. He was headmaster of a Christchurch private school before taking up the coaching position.

"I was not guaranteed a further term with New Zealand Cricket and another exciting opportunity presented itself and is likely to be confirmed later in the week," he said.

New Zealand Cricket's chief executive Martin Snedden said Aberhart had made a significant contribution to the New Zealand side.

"The team is No 3 in Test cricket and No 7 in ODI cricket. The team has had some notable successes during Denis' two years as coach including excellent team performances in Australia during the 2001-02 tour, the home ODI and Test series wins against India last season, our first Test series win in the West Indies and the recent tri-series win in Sri Lanka. The selection process for the coach's position is continuing and the successful candidate is likely to be announced next week," Snedden said.

During Aberhart's time as coach, Shane Bond has shot onto the world scene as a rated fast bowler, Nathan Astle gained the fastest double century, off balls faced, in Test history, left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori regained his best touches after back troubles and Daryl Tuffey, Jacob Oram and Scott Styris have emerged as genuine competitors on the international stage.

And possibly most important of all in the longer-term New Zealand future, Stephen Fleming has been able to lift his batting towards the heights he has already achieved as a captain.

Collectively, these have been some of the most significant developments in New Zealand's recent cricket history and Aberhart can reflect on having played a big part in developing the atmosphere allowing opportunities to be taken by his players.