Graham Barlow, the former England and Middlesex batsman, has been named the new coach of Central Districts. The 54-year-old Barlow replaces Mark Greatbatch, who resigned at the end of last season after coaching the side for two years.

An attacking left-handed opening batsman, Barlow had a long and distinguished first-class career for Middlesex, playing 251 games and scoring 12,387 runs at 35.90, with 26 centuries. However, he achieved considerably less success in the international arena, playing only three Tests, against India and Australia, and aggregating a mere 17 runs. A superb fielder and runner between the wickets, Barlow had slightly more success in one-day internationals, averaging 29.80 in six games, including an unbeaten 80 on debut, against West Indies in 1976.

His playing career ended prematurely due to a back injury, after which he took to coaching in Australia and South Africa. He was the head coach of Eastern Province, and also helped Border reach the finals of the Supersport competition, South Africa's domestic four-day tournament, in 1999. He moved to New Zealand in 2001, where he was the coaching and development officer with Marlborough Cricket Association.

According to a report in Hawkes Bay Today, Barlow was delighted at the opportunity to work with Central Districts, who won the State Shield, New Zealand's domestic one-day competition, last season. "I'm really looking forward to it and we'll be moving up as soon as possible. Having lived here for nearly two years, I've pretty quickly learnt that it's quite a diverse set up. And the spread-out nature of the association presents a lot of challenges," he said. "But we've got the nucleus of a pretty good side. Winning the State Shield shows there is plenty of spirit and ability and my job will be to build on that."

Barlow stint with Central Districts will begin on August 1.