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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.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 20:01 GMT)

@nitinm A bit sour about being thoroughly thumped by SA? Poor wee guy. Wright is a great coach and will turn this NZ side around.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (December 20, 2010, 15:13 GMT)

Greatbatch was not the intended coach. He was supposed to only be the batting coach before this jumped up on him. He was a fill in coach and I'm glad he still has a role in NZ cricket.

Posted by nitinm on (December 20, 2010, 13:02 GMT)

What is the point?? The kiwis are so rubbish at the moment they are going to lose evry match they play and his coaching will be under the spotlight every match. They lost to Bangladesh 4-0 for heavens sake. He should have stayed as the coach of India and he would have 2.2 Billion people prasing him but know all he has is the sheep. Worst decision he has made , for such a great coach he should have stayed coach of India.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 13:00 GMT)

but do not forget john right legacy for India. He brought India to the final in world cup2003

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 11:09 GMT)

I got the feeling right from the start that John Wright didnt want the position of NZ coach when he left India. From the reports early on in the piece it was clear that NZC were keen for Wright to coach the national team, but he wasnt interested.

I also think that it is time for a change at the top of NZC. I dont think JV has enough forward thinking in to developing the game in NZ. OK, you could argue that there is a bit of forward thinking with signing a deal with USA cricket, but they have 2 associations fighting for recognition....they are really in a mess themselves. NZC really need to develop a strong NZ A squad and tours to put pressure on the 1st XI blokes and make them play for their place!!

Posted by MarkM33 on (December 20, 2010, 11:02 GMT)

Even the Norman Knownothing on the street thought Wright should have been appointed 2 years ago. Bracewell had a good time, Moles was a lucky dip choice and Greatbatch only a fill-in anyway.

It's good to see normality restored with Vettori doing what he should be - captain and player. I hope Wright is able to do his thing without player rebellion because they don't like his aftershave or something. This whole rejig is a starting point to show the players they are not that good and they are not the superstars they think they are.

I'll be interested to see if Wright can make an immediate impact or if it will take a bit of time. Good luck to you Mr Wright, fine sir!!

Posted by jessiedog on (December 20, 2010, 10:38 GMT)

Small steps with improving the team.. Granted. Point been missed here though the person that needs to go is Justin Vaughan. Was responsible for the debacle over Shane Bonds ICL venture, also allowing the early departure of Stephen Fleming. As well as allowing Vettori way to much say in how things should be done. This is a gd start but the clean out needs to start at the top. Glad Greatbatch is still involved would have been harsh on him to be totally removed.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 10:38 GMT)

Finally! Wright who else!

Posted by rugg on (December 20, 2010, 9:53 GMT)

John Wright was a class coach for India and has really helped Indian cricket. Just recently i have read John Wrights book about coaching in India and it seems like he is a very nice guy with a great attitude. Cmon NZ you've got it now!

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 9:42 GMT)

A great call. I particulary love how kiwi-muncher posted his comment twice just so we can see how witty he is. The Wright choice indeed

Posted by bharath74 on (December 20, 2010, 9:40 GMT)

Wright is the Right choice Baby:The Best Coach

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 9:17 GMT)

Lance Cairns is a thoroughly nice chap, but what has he had to do with NZ cricket in the last 25 years? How can he become a selector? As for Greatbatch, it was a ridiculous appointment in the first place!

Posted by nzvllain on (December 20, 2010, 8:21 GMT)

Good call justin vaughn and co about time we got a backbone in our national summer sport lets some senior players stand up and preform and show some pride! Shake will show them how. WORLD CUP here come the BLACKCAPS

Posted by Point4 on (December 20, 2010, 7:54 GMT)

why did it take this much time.......

Posted by Biggus on (December 20, 2010, 7:43 GMT)

Wright is a class act and a nice guy as well. Good move for the Kiwis.

Posted by Kiwi-Muncher on (December 20, 2010, 7:13 GMT)

The Wright choice at last

Posted by Ranjan_Dhar on (December 20, 2010, 7:02 GMT)

New Zealand players seem to be born-injured. They get a talented player and after playing two games they just get injured. Latest being Benett. The players lack the en-durability factor. I hope they do well in WC under Wright.

Posted by bondyambassador on (December 20, 2010, 7:01 GMT)

Now get rid of Shane Jurgensen the bowling coach and put Shane Bond in. Get rid of Dave Currie as manager and install somebody who is well versed in cricket and is smart and savvy and can drive the team forward and lastly Justin Vaughan needs a rocket, nice guy but he gives in too easily to the players demands. NZ cricketers can perform so poorly that I think the majority of their payments should be performance based with small retainers only and maybe work off a model like the MVP system to ajudge as to how much a player should get paid for his overall performance - current model not working and no fear of being dropped or losing out financially.

Posted by nisal2996 on (December 20, 2010, 7:00 GMT)

Good on him, he's got experience so that's a start. However the man has a big task ahead of himself, from the position New Zealand is in now, to beat Pakistan in all 3 series would be big for New Zealand. The big problem here for New Zealand is that they don't have the staff and with the lack of good coaches and selectors and a bunch of guys who would know their roles and understand the crisis New Zealand is in. It's time that the Blackcaps concentrate hard on this important series against Pakistan and have high morale and confidence, back each other and prepare well for the World Cup. They have some great players, but the staff of selectors and coaches have a role to do and if they get themselves ready, as well as the players by sticking with the same odd 15 guys, New Zealand can be the team they have been in the past. Good luck New Zealand and concentrate on this series against Pakistan, then the World Cup.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 6:55 GMT)

4 coaches in 2 years... that is so Pakistani!!

Posted by sudzz71 on (December 20, 2010, 6:54 GMT)

If only coaches can make the difference.... Everyone is missing the point here..barring Vettori and Baz no one else in the NZ team looks like they are playing for the love of the sport...

Posted by Kiwi-Muncher on (December 20, 2010, 6:51 GMT)

The Wright choice at last

Posted by cricinme on (December 20, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

Wright is the right choice. He can bring out a turnaround for NZ. He was instrumental in bringing a turnaround in Indian cricket. Good luck guy.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 6:36 GMT)

gr8 to see wright back in coaching role ..woulld nt mind to see him back as indian coach in case kirsten does not continue ...he is jus kind of background who will let team on spotlight and work on basics. best of luck sir

Posted by sonjjay on (December 20, 2010, 6:18 GMT)

Finally the correct choice made by nz.We here in India respect wright alot.Hopefully he can help his own country too now.Good luck to John Wright.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 5:40 GMT)

India was in a similar condition when wright came in as coach and has changed the way the Indian Team plays cricket these days. Hopefully he would do the same for Newzealand cricket Team and all my best wishes be with him. Cant wait to see new zealand in the world cup! Go KIWIs.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 5:25 GMT)

come on Blackcaps! lets forget about the past and take over the future!!! I really dont understand why senior players arent rested while worldcup is only 2months away! But remember blackcaps has the most destructing batting line up in the world! with Brendon, Ryder, Ross, Styris... anything is possible! kylemills, vettori, nathan, tuffey should be in the world cup team! blackcaps will prove the world!

Posted by Robdahl on (December 20, 2010, 5:23 GMT)

Good selection.....i think he knows how to train individual palyers to their strengths and weakness....i hope hell be a very good coach to New Zealand...thumps up?

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 4:58 GMT)

The guy who made India to believe that they can fight and win test matches.. It was the him and ganguly's effort, that India has finally reached No !. Hope this guy bring the same to kiwis....

Posted by vinvin2210 on (December 20, 2010, 4:47 GMT)

More than anything, Wright needs to infuse in this NZ side, a belief that they can win.... He did it with India ten years back and his appointment is now seen as the turning point for Indian cricket....Hopefully he can do the same with the NZ side which is staring down the barrel right now...Wishing him all the best...

Posted by mphillipd on (December 20, 2010, 4:47 GMT)

About time. Now please get rid of Justin Vaughan. He seems to be the common denominator. Just like his playing career, his stint at NZC has been very average. Good to hear Vettori is not a selector anymore, still the man to captain though. Congrats to Tendulkar, you truly are a living legend

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 3:53 GMT)

Hope Wright can do same stuff he did with india.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 3:19 GMT)

Wright is a great coach but I dont know how much depth New Zealand has in terms of talent....maybe they should do a kolpak or something like that

Posted by djfw666 on (December 20, 2010, 3:13 GMT)

YES!!! This won't help at the World Cup, but it will help over the next couple of years.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 3:08 GMT)

Wright is one of the best coach i have seen. I did mold Indian team into a very good competitive team and we did see the result in 2003 world cup. This will be real challenge for him because world cup is very near. All the best to Wright and New Zealand team.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 3:06 GMT)

Right Selection in selecting Wright. He knows Indian conditions better than any other Kiwi and he can make an impact in WC

Posted by nzcricket174 on (December 20, 2010, 2:51 GMT)

This is a great thing for New Zealand cricket. John Wright did some good work for India. Hopefully he can do the same for New Zealand. John Wright coached India to their first test series win in Australia. That is something to talk up about.

Posted by JustOUT on (December 20, 2010, 2:46 GMT)

Good, Atlast NZ got the right coach. Hope Wright transforms them to a better team like he did for India

Posted by wildernick on (December 20, 2010, 2:43 GMT)

Something had to give... and Managemen has to start taking on more responsibilty for NZC.. the players need to concentrate on cricket not politics.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 2:34 GMT)

NZs going to win the world cup now. Youll see.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2010, 2:29 GMT)

oh my god x 10. finally!!!

Posted by scotty12354 on (December 20, 2010, 2:18 GMT)

good news appointing wright. lets hope he can have things his way. not sure about him being a selector though. he was the one who decided to take verinder sewag from the middle order and turn him into an opener. best of luck to him and the rest of the boys

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