Richard Boock - A Kiwi view

To the list of issues complicated by the sudden and lucrative explosion of the Twenty20 format in India, add the ...

Monday, June 09, 2021

'Desparately seeking Bracewell's replacement'

Nottingham: To the list of issues complicated by the sudden and lucrative explosion of the Twenty20 format in India, add the task of trying to find a top-class international coach.

It wasn't so long that a national team appointment was viewed as a rare and precious opportunity among the coaching ranks; something that would usually provoke a flood of applications and a general stampede at the door of the relevant organisation.
But things have changed, as New Zealand Cricket (NZC) are no doubt discovering.

Their search for John Bracewell's replacement will soon begin amid a challenging new climate in which the world's leading participants (coaches included) are being paid extravagant sums for doing less.

Suddenly, the prospect of seven months on the road for maybe a NZ$100,000 payout isn't worth the sacrifice.

Just who might take over from Bracewell at the end of next summer remains a complete mystery, not so much because of a lack of quality candidates but because the market has been turned upside down by competitions such as the Indian Premier League.

The most pertinent question now for the cream of the crop is why they should accept a fulltime post with a team such as New Zealand or the West Indies, when they know they can earn as much, if not more, in the space of six weeks on the subcontinent?
Add the fact that many otherwise strong contenders also have young families and are usually unhappy about spending so much time on the road, and you can see why NZC's quest for a new coach might well be frustrated by several rejections.

Former Australian all-rounder and highly-successful Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody worked with Mohali in the recent IPL; the Kolkata franchise was guided by former Australian boss John Buchanan and New South Wales coach Matthew Mott, and Victoria's Greg Shipperd was at the helm of the Delhi combination.

It doesn't become much clearer closer to home, either, where heir-apparent John Wright - the man most Kiwi cricket supporters would love to take over the side - has yet to declare an interest, and seems quite happy to continue in his present role at the head of the High Performance Centre.

Wright, so successful during a five-year term with India, has previously spoken of his dislike of touring, and last year turned down an opportunity to lead the Australian High Performance Centre, ostensibly because he was loathe to leave his Canterbury digs.
He more recently left the door fractionally ajar on the question of the New Zealand position although, if bets were being laid, you'd probably want to put your money on the likelihood of him being scratched from the race before it started in earnest.

Apart from Wright, the most compelling cases on the domestic front are presented by Canterbury's Dave Nosworthy, Northern Districts' Andrew Moles and Auckland's Mark O'Donnell - although none of the trio is exactly hammering down the chief executive's door.

Other possible contenders include current Black Caps assistant coach Bob Carter and New Zealand Under 19 coach Dipak Patel. Another might have been Mark Greatbatch, but it's understood the former New Zealand batsman is enjoying a break from high-profile coaching after an unsuccessful stint with English county Warwickshire.

Whatever NZC decide, it would be a huge surprise if they opted to run with a suggestion from former HPC boss and never-ending theorist Ric Charlesworth, who promoted the idea of employing two coaches; one to run the test side, the other to look after the one-day international and Twenty20 teams.

Given the looming difficulties involved in finding one suitable candidate, it would appear unlikely NZC would further complicate the issue and try to find two.