Craig McMillan to step down as New Zealand batting coach after World Cup
Craig McMillan will not be renewing his contract with New Zealand. (AFP Image)

Former international Craig McMillan announced Monday he will step down as New Zealand batting coach after this year’s World Cup in England and Wales. McMillan said the conclusion of the showpiece tournament was the right time to move on after five years in the job, including helping New Zealand reach the final of the 2015 World Cup.

“I spoke to the family because they are the ones that have had to make a lot of sacrifices over the last five years, just with the amount of cricket in this day and age,” McMillan said. “It just gets more and more every year. And I sort of knew within myself that it was time for a change for me.

“It’s been an amazing experience and one I’ve immensely enjoyed. To help coach the national team on the world stage has been a real honour and I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with so many good people and in such a great environment. I’d like to thank everyone at NZC and the Blackcaps, along with my friends and family for all their support through the ups and the downs. I’ll certainly miss the job, but I’m excited to pursue some other coaching opportunities and of course spend some more time at home with the family.”

McMillan, who played 55 Tests and 197 one-day internationals for the Black Caps, was given the role of batting mentor by former head coach Mike Hesson, who was replaced by Gary Stead last year.

“To be involved in such an incredible World Cup on home soil and see the way the country embraced the team was really special,” said McMillan. “It’s been a privilege to be able to work with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor day-in and day-out and to see the records they’ve accomplished has been very satisfying; as has the development of younger players like Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls.”

Captain Kane Williamson lauded the former allrounder for his dedication towards New Zealand cricket, while admitting that McMillan would be missed by the players.

“Macca has a huge passion for the game and he’s constantly trying to challenge players to get better. He has a lot of cricket knowledge and will certainly be missed by the group, although maybe his fielding warm-ups on those cold mornings won’t be,” Williamson said.

New Zealand Cricket CEO David White acknowledged McMillan’s immense contribution to the national team’s set-up. “Just like in his playing days, Craig left no stone unturned in terms of preparation and gave his complete commitment to the role.

“Being the batting coach isn’t always an easy job, but if you look at the records his batsmen have set and the contributions they’ve made to some very good New Zealand wins and series victories, I think he should be very proud.”

The 42-year-old said he would pursue other coaching opportunities after the World Cup but did not specify what they might be. The tournament runs from May 30 to July 14 and New Zealand Cricket said McMillan’s replacement would be announced before the team depart for a tour of Sri Lanka in August.