Gary Stead appointed New Zealand’s head coach
New Zealand Cricket CEO David White (L) shakes hands with Gary Stead (R) after being annouced as the new Head Coach (Getty Images)

Former opening batsman Gary Stead has been appointed head coach of the New Zealand men’s cricket team on Wednesday. The 46-year-old signed a two-year contract and will begin his tenure as coach from September replacing Mike Hesson, who stepped down in June.

Stead did not play much cricket for New Zealand – five Tests in 1999 in which he scored 278 runs at 34.75 – but it is his coaching experience that provides plenty of substance to his resume. Stead guided Canterbury to domestic titles in 2014, 2015 and 2017 and took the national women’s team, the White Ferns, to the 2009 World Cup final.

“This is a well-established and high-performing Black Caps side with an excellent captain in Kane Williamson and a real desire to win series and titles,” Stead said. “It’s an honour and a privilege to be part of that. I can’t wait to get started.”

New Zealand, who reached the final of the 2015 World Cup, and while Stead’s primary goal should be a repeat of it and perhaps go a step further and lift the trophy, the challenge does not stop there. Before that, New Zealand will play host to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as part of their packed 2018-19 calendar between December and March. India will be playing five ODIs and three T20Is starting January 23 as part of World Cup’s preparation.

Stead said he would like to build on Hesson’s legacy and that he is not looking too further down the line at the moment.

“I believe in the first three to six months and I will see things the way people in the usual environment won’t see. There’s been clearly a bit of success under Mike Hesson and Kane Williamson recently, and my intentions won’t be throw them out of the window, but I will have some ideas I’m sure that will be new, that will challenge our group as well,” Stead said. “I want to foster and continue to maintain what is great about our team and then find ways that we can make small gains because at the end of the day we want to win peak events.”

New Zealand Cricket president David White was thrilled to have Stead, someone who possess a wealth of coaching knowledge, on board.

“We’re delighted for Gary – he has excellent qualifications, a solid temperament, vast experience, and is open to innovation. I also think it’s great NZC is continuing to invest in, and recognise the primacy of, our own domestic competitions and coaching programmes,” White said.