New Zealand news May 1, 2012

John Wright to stand down as New Zealand coach


John Wright has cited differences with New Zealand's director of cricket, John Buchanan, as a key factor in his decision not to extend his contract as the head coach. Wright has been in the position for only 16 months but has turned down a proposal to stay on beyond August, when his contract expires, meaning the upcoming tour of the West Indies will be his last engagement as coach of New Zealand.

During Wright's time in charge, New Zealand have played nine Tests for three wins, three losses and three draws, and they reached the semi-finals of the World Cup last year. The highlight was the team's first victory in a Test in Australia for a quarter of a century, and that was followed by a respectable performance against South Africa, who won 1-0 in New Zealand.

But despite such encouraging results, Wright said he was ready to move on and that it was best to make way for a coach who could steer the side through to the 2015 World Cup, which he could not envisage himself doing. He also said differences between himself and Buchanan, who was appointed director of cricket several months after Wright took over as coach, had played a part.

"During the review process with the current cricket director, we both agreed the planning systems that he wants to implement don't complement the style and the way I coach, so that was another factor," Wright told reporters in New Zealand on Tuesday. "It's part of sport. I've enjoyed the opportunity to coach the New Zealand cricket team.

"I've looked at it from my point of view, the way I coach and the values and beliefs that I bring to the job. It's very important that I'm true to myself ... We see things a little differently. It would be fair to say we're probably more comfortable coaching against each other, which we did for four and a half years. But it's part of sport."

Wright became coach in December 2010, replacing Mark Greatbatch on a contract of less than two years. In April 2011, Buchanan was brought in to the newly-created role of director of cricket and was handed a four-year contract and a wide-ranging brief to oversee the high-performance programme and introduce consistent coaching strategies.

Asked to outline the differences in approach between himself and Buchanan, Wright said: "I think he's probably in a better position to do that. We're probably not that different, we just see things a little differently. As I explained earlier, the planning systems that John wants to implement are probably suited to another head coach. I think it's just a difference of style. We see things very differently. I wish him and everyone else success."

Wright, 57, has the chance to finish on a high with the July-August two-Test tour of the Caribbean, which will give New Zealand an opportunity to finish his tenure by jumping ahead of West Indies on the ICC Test rankings. David White, the NZC chief executive, said it was disappointing Wright had decided to end his time as head coach and the challenge would now be to find a mentor who could guide the side to the 2015 World Cup.

"John has been an outstanding servant for cricket in New Zealand over a long time and it is disappointing to lose someone of his calibre," White said. "We were keen to see him continue his head coach role, however we understand and respect his decision to look for another challenge.

"The fighting performance of the Black Caps at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and again in the Test victory over Australia spoke volumes about John as a coach and he can be proud of the way he has advanced the current team. I would like to congratulate John on the contribution he has made and wish him all the best in his future endeavours."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Geoff on May 2, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    Great own goal by NZ Cricket.

    Buchanan and Wright don't get on? So get rid of Buchanan!!

  • michael on May 2, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    Terrible news for New Zealand Cricket!The people of New Zealand and cricket fans will have NO tolerance for any future failures now.Buchanan will take the credit for all of it. NZers won't forget and will enjoy blaming an Australian......

  • Matt on May 2, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    Why is one of NZ crickets best batmen and coach stepping aside because he doesnt see eye to eye with Buchanan, surely it should be Buchanan that must leave!!

  • Lakshmi Narayana on May 1, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    John Wright was the first foreign coach who lifted Indian cricket to great heights. He gained the respect of his players simply by letting them be themselves. An out and out background guy who does not crave for media attention.Great coach indeed. India would gladly take John Wright for Duncan Fletcher even in sleep. Can there be coach exchange program between NZC and BCCI ?

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    Differences with John Buchanan has been the order of the day for whichever place he goes. Had an unsuccessful stint with the IPL for KKR and NZC chose him over all others in the world of Cricket !!! Bad move #1. Next was to setup a new post for him with all powers !!! Bad move #2. NZC should've sacked him and asked Wright to stay on. May be, BCCI can approach him again. Agree with a few others on Wright coaching Bangaladesh as he motivates team better than most of the yesteryear cricket greats !!!

  • Brij on May 1, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    New Zealand may as well get relegated to the associate division with John Wright stepping down as coach...they are so bad already...

  • Tone on May 1, 2012, 16:24 GMT

    I'm an Aussie and I've been living in NZ for the last 6 years. I'm really feeling sad for NZ cricket at the moment. John Buchanan and Kim Littlejohn are NOT the way forward - anyone could've coached the team Buchanan had and Littlejohn doesn't even have a cricket background. What little positive ground has been made over the last 2 years will be lost. This something that NZ cannot afford. *sigh*

  • Ravi on May 1, 2012, 16:15 GMT

    This guy buchanan...what do i tell about him, he like greg chappell, everywhere he goes, he makes cracks in the organization, who can forget KKR fiasco in 2009 season where he came up with weirdest formula..multiple captains and all that. This day in NZC was to come for sure, it was not a matter of why, but when...good luck john wright for your future..

  • Joseph on May 1, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Buchanan?! Seriously?! Are NZC out of their minds? Buchanan over John Wright? Who is running NZC?

  • abhijeet on May 1, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    Its a shame. Given a choice between Wright and Buchanan, I would pick Wright any day of the week. Buchanan has only worked with a great team which would have most likely won plenty even without him. Wright on the other hand has done a great job coaching NZ and India. However I think NZ's loss might be India's gain. India should rehire him as soon as possible if he is still interested in coaching India.

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