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Wright replaces Greatbatch as New Zealand coach

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 20, 2010

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

John Wright at a New Zealand net session, Napier, March 25, 2009
John Wright is the new head coach of New Zealand © AFP
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John Wright has replaced Mark Greatbatch as New Zealand's coach, and Daniel Vettori has lost his role as a selector, as part of a review of the team's recent tour of India. Wright will take charge of the side immediately, while Greatbatch will become the convener of a three-man selection panel that will also include Glenn Turner and Lance Cairns.

One of Wright's major tasks will be to turn around New Zealand's poor one-day form, after they suffered clean-sweeps in India and Bangladesh over the past two months. The team has lost 11 consecutive ODIs, hardly the sort of lead-up they wanted ahead of February's World Cup, and they have also won only two of their past 19 Tests.

"I'd always thought it would be a great challenge. When you look back at past history it's been a tough one but that's cricket," Wright told reporters after his new job was announced in Auckland. "I feel some unfinished business. I'm excited and I want to test myself as a coach."

Wright is contracted until after the West Indies tour in 2012, and his appointment completes his return to the international scene after he ended a five-year stint as India's coach in 2005. He knows that his first task is to get to know the New Zealand players ahead of their next international encounter, a Twenty20 against Pakistan on December 26.

"I understand it will be small steps," he said. "I look at particularly the one day team and they have potential. But the trick is to help the players find that consistency, find how to rediscover their form and confidence. I've been in a similar situation before going into a World Cup that was very, very low on confidence."

The decision to hand the reins to Wright was the central outcome of a review of New Zealand's tour of India, but changes to the selection panel were also significant. Greatbatch is in charge of the new panel, which will be independent of the team, ending Vettori's tenure as a selector.

However, in a statement, New Zealand Cricket said the captain and coach would continue to contribute to the selection process and would be actively responsible for team selections on tour. Greatbatch will stay on as a batting coach in New Zealand's high-performance programme.

"A thorough review of the Black Caps tour of India has been undertaken over the last week," said the New Zealand Cricket CEO Justin Vaughan. "All aspects of the tour - playing performance, preparation, selection and support staff - were examined to ensure that the Black Caps have the greatest chance of succeeding. The changes being made are a direct result of that process and should make a real difference."

Wright will be the fourth coach New Zealand have had in just over two years. John Bracewell was the long-standing mentor until his departure in December 2008, and his replacement Andy Moles lasted barely a year before the search for a new coach landed on Greatbatch, who took over in January this year.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by kuroneko on (December 21, 2010, 23:02 GMT)

Definitely a step forward for us. John Wright is a smart, down to earth, and, most of all, positive individual who will get the best out of these players. NZ is in the unique position in world cricket of having a team of players whose places in the side are never under threat due to lack of depth, seemingly no matter how badly they perform. Therefore a coach is needed who is a good man manager, and who knows how to inspire.

NZ has had two such coaches in recent times: Warren Lees and Steve Rixon. It's no coincidence that our most successful eras after the 1980s were when these two were coaching.

I would get Martin Crowe and Richard Hadlee in as technical advisors for batting and bowling, respectively, and get rid of all the other hangers-on... video technical analysts and sports psychologists. We have the players, they just need direction.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2010, 15:25 GMT)

Why NZ 30 member worldcup squad still not announced......? when It will be announced.....?

Posted by arnavred on (December 21, 2010, 8:04 GMT)

hi there...i accept wright as a good captain..he has a role ti bring India to a good position.but we must remember player should play the part to be in that position..so let us not argue who is best coach..who likes whom..all we want is good teams and good play of cricket.Am an Indian.I love the players who plays with their bat n bowl not with mouth...like THE MASTER, SACIN TENDULKAR,LAXMAN,DRAVID,DHONI, FLEMING,KUMBLE,LARA,JAYASURIYA,INZAMAM,HAYDEN.McGRATH..

Posted by Biggus on (December 21, 2010, 7:27 GMT)

@nitinim-Hey, leave those Kiwis alone. If anyone's going to give them a hard time it's we Aussies! But seriously, for a country of only a few million people the Kiwis do all right-they were damn good in the '80s when Johnny Wright was opening for them and they could have done worse than give him the job. I had a little to do with Wright in Oz in the early '80s and thought he was a great guy with strong leadership qualities. Good luck to him and our brothers across the ditch.

Posted by we_are_the_warriors on (December 21, 2010, 1:28 GMT)

nitinm- With comments like that I am not surprised that John Wright left India. Why would he want praise from people like you??? I like india and the people but comments from people like you change my mind... With Gary Kirsten looking like leaving maybe your idiotic board need to look at how they retain coaches. Must be an internal thing.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2010, 1:26 GMT)

It is a right decision selecting Wright as a coach.this is a real and great attempt of New Zealand cricket board !!! I congratulate it.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2010, 0:33 GMT)

@ nitinm - you make reference to India's massive population so I am keen to bring up (in case you don't know) that NZ has just over 4 million people - significantly less that your claim that India has over 2 billion people. Admittedly the Blackcaps are rubbish right now but I think they do okay considering the small player base in NZ and cricket being far from a religion in this country. India is a great team at the moment but how long has it taken them to get to this level? With such a large, cricket mad, and massive population I think questions should be asked around that. Another interesting point, from memory they are far from convincing I touring NZ. For the last few years the Blackcaps have had a competitive one day team so this is just a setback for now - Under Wright I'm confident they'll be back as they have plenty of ODI talent - The big test for Wright will be to see if he can transform the 5 day team into a decent unit - something they haven't been for some time.

Posted by   on (December 21, 2010, 0:30 GMT)

@ nitinm - you make reference to India's massive population so I am keen to bring up (in case you don't know) that NZ has just over 4 million people - significantly less that your claim that India has over 2 billion people. Admittedly the Blackcaps are rubbish right now but I think they do okay considering the small player base in NZ and cricket being far from a religion in this country. India is a great team at the moment but how long has it taken them to get to this level? With such a large, cricket mad, and massive population I think questions should be asked around that. Another interesting point, from memory they are far from convincing in touring NZ. For the last few years the Blackcaps have had a competitive one day team so this is just a setback for now - Under Wright I'm confident they'll be back as they have plenty of ODI talent - The big test for Wright will be to see if he can transform the 5 day team into a decent unit - something they haven't been for sometime.

Posted by Meety on (December 21, 2010, 0:15 GMT)

@nitinm - 2.2 billion people! Wow, China was happy to see Wright coach India as well!!!! LOL. Don't know whether Wright was a great coach or not - but I think he will be way better then Bracewell! This also means that Vettori can concentrate more on driving the team bus, peeling the oranges, sorting the kit bag, being the premier batsmen, bowler & captain!!!! I am Ozzy so I had to have a dig - but I really do admire Vettori & would like to see an improvement in NZ cricket. @ MarkM33 - love a good conspiracy! I can see some green shoots for NZ despite the losses to the Bangars.

Posted by MarkM33 on (December 20, 2010, 21:00 GMT)

It's actually really difficult to make a fully informed comment on all this but I have my suspicions that Vettori has had Vaughan under his control for some time. This is one of the best decisions NZC has made in a long time and I'm not sure Vettori is going to like it much.

Why did Stephen Fleming quit when he still had a good few years to go? Vettori - he wanted complete control of the team. Why was Andy Moles appointed? Vettori - he saw Moles as a soft touch coach who would do what he wanted. Why was Wright not appointed? Vettori - Wright wasn't going to be allowed the power he needed to coach. Why was Andy Moles sacked? Vettori (& friends) - player power pushing him out. Why was Wright sacked from being a selector? Vettori - they couldn't agree on selections.

I like Vettori as a player but I wonder if he has done some serious damage to NZ cricket by commanding all the power and Vaughan has been soft enough to allow it.

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