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NZ Cricket reject splitting up Black Caps coaching job

Coach Gary Stead of New Zealand talks with captain Kane Williamson.
Gary Stead and limited overs skipper Kane Willamson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand Cricket has rejected the idea of a split head coaching role for the Black Caps, with Gary Stead signing on for two more years.

First appointed for a two-year term in late 2018, Stead had his contract renewed in 2020 until the end of the upcoming Cricket World Cup in India.

He will now stay on until the conclusion of the current World Test Championship cycle, in June 2025.

It means Stead will remain in charge of the Black Caps test, one day and T20 squads despite having been an advocate for splitting up the tasks as England do.

In March Stead said: "I think it is time to split off and look at it."

"The modern game is becoming very tough for players and coaches to try and sustain and New Zealand Cricket and I are definitely talking about that option."

New Zealand Cricket general manager Bryan Stronach said a formal split-coaching model was considered but rejected although there's flexibility to co-opt additional coaching staff.

"A split-coaching role was discussed in depth but, with most of our leading Black Caps playing across all three formats, and the culture of the group so strong and positive, we saw clear benefits in supporting the status quo," he said.

"Of all the different potential scenarios, we considered this the best option available to us."

Stronach said fresh voices and new ideas would continue to be introduced to players and support staff through the "fourth coach" concept, in which touring squads were supported by coaches with a specialist skillset, or knowledge of specific overseas environments or formats.

Recent examples of this include Stephen Fleming, Shane Bond, Saqlain Mushtaq, Luke Wright and Thilan Samaraweera.

The case for retaining Stead was "compelling", said Stronach.

"Gary's results have been very impressive and we're confident that he still has a lot to offer the team....the support for Gary was overwhelmingly positive.

"Of course, a big part of this decision came down to whether Gary wanted to continue and he made it clear his appetite to take this team forward was as keen as ever."

Stead's reappointment period will include the T20 World Cup in June/July 2024, the ODI Champions Trophy in February/March 2025 and, possibly the World Test Championship Final, in June 2025.

Tim Southee of the Black Caps
New Zealand test captain Tim Southee. Photo: Photosport

Black Caps Test captain Tim Southee said the players were pleased Stead had been reappointed.

"Gary's had great success leading us into finals in all three formats and, of course, that World Test Championship win."

Southee said the role of the modern-day head coach was as much about managing people as the technical aspects of the role.

"The sheer amount of time players and support staff spend away from family and loved ones makes for a challenging environment.

"With so much cricket being played these days, being able to effectively manage people and their workloads is a huge part of the job."