Wellington: John Wright has announced he will quit as New Zealand coach after next month's tour to the West Indies, saying the time is right to pursue "other opportunities." The former New Zealand opening batsman has coached New Zealand since late 2010, leading the team to the semi-finals of last year's ICC World Cup and to their first Test win over Australia in Australia in 26 years.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White said Wright, who also had a successful stint as India coach in the early 2000s, was offered a contract extension but had declined a new term. Wright's decision follows media reports of tension in his relationship with former Australia coach John Buchanan, who is now New Zealand's director of cricket. Some New Zealand media reported on Tuesday that Buchanan may take over from Wright on an interim basis when his contract ends in July.
New Zealand have won three of the nine Tests played under Wright, 12 of 27 one-day internationals and seven of 10 Twenty20 internationals. White had made re-signing Wright a priority after taking over from Justin Vaughan as NZC chief executive but has been unable to convince the former New Zealand opening batsman to stay on.
"John has been an outstanding servant for cricket in New Zealand over a long time and it is disappointing to lose someone of his calibre," White said. "We were keen to see him continue his head coach role. However, we understand and respect his decision to look for another challenge.
"The fighting performance of the Black Caps at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and again in the Test victory over Australia spoke volumes about John as a coach, and he can be proud of the way he has advanced the current team."
White said NZC was "keen to fill this critical role as soon as possible but are conscious that we need to take time to find the right candidate who can take us through to the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup."
Wright said he was grateful to New Zealand Cricket for the opportunity to coach the national team. "I had always wanted to coach New Zealand cricketers for New Zealanders, and it has been a tremendous privilege for me," he said. "I appreciate the offer to extend my contract, but after much consideration, I feel it's the right time to move on."
While Wright hasn't confirmed difficulties in working with Buchanan, he has expressed unease with New Zealand's complicated and frequently-changing coaching structures. Buchanan holds an all-powerful role within New Zealand cricket, leaving little authority or discretion to the national coach. The appointment by Buchanan of Kim Littlejohn, an Australian lawn bowls administrator, as New Zealand's national selection manager also reportedly jarred with the pragmatic Wright.