Why Gary Stead's job was never in doubt

Publish Date
Friday, 4 September 2020, 11:39AM


By: Niall Anderson

Gary Stead will continue as Black Caps head coach until the conclusion of the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

Stead's contract was set to expire after this year's Twenty20 World Cup, but with the event postponed and the Black Caps not having played since March, his extension became a formality, signing on for a further three years as head coach in all three formats.

His tenure has seen the Black Caps largely build on the gains made under Mike Hesson, with a one-day World Cup final appearance and test series victories over Pakistan, England and India, which has seen the team rise to No 2 in the world test rankings.

While sport's usual slim margins have had an impact on how Stead is perceived - ponder for a moment how he and his team would have been viewed had Carlos Braithwaite hit the ball five metres further at the World Cup – the former New Zealand batsman has done enough, especially with this summer's dominant test victories over India, for the extension to be an easy decision for New Zealand Cricket.

"It's a real honour and a privilege for me to continue to be involved," said Stead.

"I didn't have to think for too long. I've still got a lot of energy for it and feel I can still continue to offer something to the team.

"The unknown is still there [with Covid-19], but the certain thing for me was I really wanted to keep working with these guys – it's a really enjoyable job and I just hope I can add my small part to the [success] of this team."

The lowlight of Stead's tenure so far was the test tour of Australia, which saw the Black Caps suffer three consecutive thrashings, while a mixture of poor execution and bad luck led to several close Twenty20 defeats to England and India.

He believes those close defeats are the immediate areas where the team can improve.

"The gains that you make at this level are only ever miniscule – we're looking at one percenters to make sure we can get over the line in those tough situations.

"We're very close and we certainly can find areas that we can improve in."

While Stead had to undergo an interview process to secure the job for the next three years, NZ Cricket chief executive David White says it was merely a formality to ensure as much feedback as possible.

"We were looking at no-one else. The feedback from the team, the management and our support staff was outstanding and very supportive of Gary."

NZ Cricket will now hunt for a batting coach to replace the departed Peter Fulton, with White confirming that a global search will begin next week, while specialist coaches will remain an option to provide support to individual series or tours.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission