New Zealand news October 24, 2009

Moles quits as New Zealand coach

Andy Moles has resigned as New Zealand's coach but New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has denied he was forced out by player power after less than a year in the job. NZC's chief executive Justin Vaughan said the coach's departure three days before the side flies to the UAE to play Pakistan would be unsettling but he was confident Daniel Vettori could ably lead the squad.

However, there is no guarantee that New Zealand will have a new coach in place by the time they host Pakistan for three Tests starting in late November. Vaughan said NZC would aim to have found Moles' replacement prior to the home series against Bangladesh in February.

Moles and Vaughan took part in mediation talks on Friday, following reports that the senior players were unhappy with a lack of technical and tactical support being provided by Moles. The pair came to an agreement that Moles would step down, after a review of the team's performance in Sri Lanka and at the Champions Trophy suggested that changes should be made.

"I can categorically say this is not an issue of a group of players coming to me and saying 'get rid of the coach'," Vaughan said. "That did not happen. We sought the feedback of leading players, as I think is appropriate when they come back from their tour. We also sought the input from a number of other areas including support staff and management of that Black Caps team. This was not a case of player power.

"The review that we performed was comprehensive. We sought input from a wide variety of sources. The outputs of that review meant it was in the best interests that he resign."

The squad departs for the UAE early this week and while Moles will not be part of the touring party, the remainder of the support staff will travel with the players as planned. The team manager Dave Currie is expected to take more management responsibility over the support staff in Moles' absence.

Vaughan said the timing of Moles' resignation was less than ideal but he believed the players could cope without a coach in the short term. He cited the example of India, who performed well without a senior mentor for nearly a year until the appointment of Gary Kirsten.

"This will be unsettling, no question about it, having the coach resign three days before they leave," Vaughan said. "No question there will be some anxiety, some uncertainty, but the morale in the team is very strong. Daniel has shown he is leading the team very strongly at the moment and the team are right in behind him."

The departure of Moles less than a year after he replaced John Bracewell has also raised questions about whether NZC erred their interview and recruitment process at the time. Moles, who was contracted until the 2011 World Cup, beat other contenders including Matthew Mott and Dipak Patel for the role and Vaughan defended NZC's decision.

"He certainly was the best candidate at the time," he said. "He had come off a very strong record with Northern Districts and we made the best decision that we felt was available to us at that period of time and Andy has done some good things for this team."

Although the public nature of the lead-up to Moles' exit was embarrassing for the coach and the board, Moles has left the team after some on-field success. He helped guide New Zealand to the final of the Champions Trophy in South Africa earlier this month, an achievement that has turned into his parting legacy.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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