Sport

Kiwi cricket director John Buchanan could be on outer

NEW Zealand Cricket's director of cricket John Buchanan - the former long-serving Australian coach - could be a casualty in the balance of power at NZC in the wake of the Ross Taylor captaincy saga.

Despite direct calls to Buchanan and a request to speak to him through NZC's media department, the director of cricket has stayed silent.

Buchanan's role in the soap opera which resulted in Taylor's exit as skipper seems crucial to understanding the full picture.

He was an unequivocal supporter of Taylor remaining captain in all forms of the game but was overruled in favour of what NZC claimed was a preferred split captaincy option with Brendon McCullum taking over in limited overs.

A source said national coach Mike Hesson and Buchanan engaged in "robust discussion" on the topic during the Sri Lanka tour.

Taylor's decision to step away from the Test leadership means McCullum now leads New Zealand in all three international formats.

After Taylor was axed as captain - or in NZC-speak "turned down the test captaincy" - he spoke about Buchanan's role in events: "John has been outstanding in this process. He gets a lot of flak but has been an amazing support for me."

Former Australian Coach John Buchanan.
Former Australian Coach John Buchanan. Warren Lynam

The lack of Buchanan's right of reply on the captaincy issue is a shame. Embracing robust, open debate on the topic has hardly been NZC policy in recent weeks.

Instead, the governing body is left with a director of cricket contracted until after the 2015 World Cup who at best disagrees with Hesson and senior management over a crucial issue.

Buchanan survived when his methods differed from former coach John Wright. Whether he can survive the Hesson tilt, given NZC's wholehearted endorsement of the new coach, is an area to watch. Buchanan could become marginalised or, as one source put it, "might struggle to retain significance".

NZC chief executive David White denies this: "John has put in place a thorough plan as director of cricket for the Black Caps, White Ferns and under-19s and is working towards integrating our program."

Buchanan's work enacting a long-term high performance plan has also been appreciated at major association level. The current model is understood to extend beyond the 2015 World Cup and included plenty of consultation. Buchanan is believed to have been zealous about ensuring its implementation.

Topics:  cricket, john buchanan, new zealand



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