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July 24, 2007
John Bracewell has held on to his job as New Zealand's coach for two more seasons. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has also announced that John Wright will be given a high-performance role, although the exact nature of his position is still unclear.
Bracewell's contract was due to expire this month and his future had been uncertain following New Zealand's departure from the World Cup at the semi-final stage after consecutive heavy losses to Australia and Sri Lanka. Justin Vaughan, NZC's new CEO, formed a subcommittee in June to decide on Bracewell's fate.
"We believe that John made good progress with the Black Caps [New Zealand] and we are delighted to retain him as the team's coach," Vaughan said. Bracewell will have a greater network of specialist coaches to help him, including Wright, who refused the role as head coach at Australia's Centre of Excellence to stay in New Zealand.
"There are many areas in our high-performance programme in which we can utilise John's expertise and we are working through these with him to determine his exact role," Vaughan said. "John will be part of our drive to build player depth and to enhance the skills of our elite players."
Mark O'Neill, the former New South Wales and Western Australia batsman, has been named the heading batting coach, while Dayle Hadlee is in charge of the bowling department. O'Neill retired from playing in 1990-91 after 76 first-class matches and has worked with both his former states as a batting coach.
The make-up of New Zealand's selection panel remains unclear with the current selectors - Richard Hadlee, Dion Nash, Glenn Turner, as well as Bracewell - coming off contract this month. "We have decided to change the philosophy under which the selection panel makes decisions," Vaughan said.
"This change in philosophy will see the panel move to consensus decisions." Bracewell's right as head coach to veto the choices made by the selection panel has therefore been revoked.
That is unlikely to concern Bracewell, who took over as New Zealand's coach in 2003. He has guided the side to nine wins and 12 losses from his 27 Tests in charge, as well as 48 victories from 91 one-day internationals. In the past nine months he helped the team reach semi-finals at the Champions Trophy and the World Cup.
But questions over New Zealand's preparation for their big games in the Caribbean brought a push for change in the team management. Stephen Fleming resigned as the one-day captain after the World Cup and Martin Crowe led the calls for Bracewell to go.
His two-year contract extension will take him through to April 2009, a period that will include Test tours of South Africa, England and Australia, as well as the Champions Trophy in Pakistan next September. Bracewell's immediate challenge will be to prepare New Zealand for September's Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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