John Wrigh appointed Coach of New Zealand
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.