Former New Zealand Test batsman Mark Greatbatch was named New Zealand's national cricket coach on Saturday in a conservative appointment which seemed to preserve captain Daniel Vettori's powerful role within the team.
Greatbatch previously coached the New Zealand province Central Districts and the English county Warwickshire and is currently a New Zealand selector. In announcing his appointment, New Zealand Cricket said Greatbatch would have "particular responsibility for developing batting performance within the team." It added:
"Daniel Vettori will continue his high-level involvement in the selection of the team, team tactics and strategy." Vettori has been captain, coach and selector of the New Zealand team since its previous coach, Englishman Andy Moles, resigned in October after criticism from senior players.
"We have put a great deal of thought, and consulted widely, about how we progress the current Blackcaps unit, without upsetting the current leadership momentum within the team," NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan said.
"We also considered the credentials of a number of high-profile international options.
"Over the past 12 months the Blackcaps team, under the captaincy of Daniel Vettori, has made significant advances in terms of developing a culture of individual accountability. I know Mark is strongly supportive of the way the team has progressed and will complement Daniel well." New Zealand Cricket has not revealed who it interviewed for the coaching role, although former Australian batsman Darren Lehmann said yesterday he had been in talks with NZC. Greatbatch follows Moles as a relatively low-profile appointee with little previous international experience. Moles came to the job after coaching Scotland and Kenya while Greatbatch hasn't previously held a sole-charge role at international level.
He was Warwickshire's director of coaching between 2005 and 2007 but left under a cloud after the county's relegation from the county championship and Pro40 League and was replaced by Ashley Giles.
"Our experiences with Mark have been consistently good," Vaughan said.
"His recent elevation onto the national selection panel has been viewed as an outstanding success and he has received overwhelming praise for his communication and honesty with players and coaches."
Despite some minor successes, reaching the final of last year's Champions Trophy, New Zealand is placed sixth on world Test rankings and fourth in ODI rankings. The recent retirements of bowlers Shane Bond and Iain O'Brien, Jacob Oram and batsman Nathan Astle have left the team severely depleted. Greatbatch was still positive about his appointment.
"There is a real desire for success within this current Blackcaps unit and there are some very talented individuals," he said. "I believe that I can make a very positive contribution to the team and to the batting unit in particular."