Dermot Reeve has scaled the heights. The former England all- rounder played in the 1992 World Cup final, captained Warwickshire to unprecedented success between 1993-95, scored 12,232 runs and took 456 wickets in an illustrious 14-year playing career and in 1996 was named Wisden cricketer of the year.
He also coached Somerset and earned praise for his television commentary – he even forced a law change when he repeatedly threw his bat to the ground while padding away a spinner in a county game.
He's also plumbed the depths, fessing up to a cocaine addiction in 2005 and resigning from his Channel 4 commentary position after it emerged he had called a New Zealand-England test match while under the influence of the drug at Lord's in 2004.
"I have no recollection of seeing the ball on Saturday and Sunday," Reeve said at the time. "I had to watch the match video to hear what I said."
Not that his commentary sidekicks noticed. "They just said I was my usual self but more chirpy – and kept doing Imran Khan impressions off-screen.
"They said it was the funniest commentary they had ever heard."
Not so funny was the fact that Reeve, a self-confessed cricket nut, had a clouded future in the game.
He emigrated to New Zealand in 2006 and began a new life in Queenstown with his second wife, Australian-born Fiona, and their three young children, Jude, Tiana and Jorja.
Reeve took on a low-key but successful role coaching the Queenstown senior team for two years, but during the 2007-08 season the itch needed scratching and he e-mailed New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan offering his services.
Things fell into place, with another former England international, Graham Barlow, opting not to reapply as Central Districts coach, and Reeve was confirmed in the Stags post last Friday.
The 45-year-old moves to Napier to start his new job on August 1 – a two-year deal that he hopes to extend – leaving his young family behind in Queenstown.
Reeve, who has vowed not to discuss his past drug problem publicly and has been clean for three years, said it was a tough call not to relocate his family.
"I'll travel back to visit the family when I can, or my wife's family will come over from Sydney a bit to help her out, and hopefully she might get away from the kids a bit and come and watch a bit of cricket with me.
"We will make it work, we're all really excited about it."
Reeve, who applied to coach New Zealand in 1996 when Australian Steve Rixon was preferred, was coy when asked if he would like to coach the Black Caps. "Let's just say I'd be very happy to help New Zealand out in anyway I can.
"I'm just really excited about the move to be Stags coach. They're an exciting team to work with.
"I get a lot of satisfaction from coaching amateurs and seeing them improve, but I do love working with top-quality players and it's a different challenge, to create an environment to help players get the best out of themselves."
Barlow bailed out after four years as Stags coach, saying the travel had taken a toll on his family – "you spend half of your winter away as well as all of the summer" – but the colourful Reeve claimed he could cope.
"I see that as a real positive. For me to spend a bit of time out on the road gives me plenty of thinking time on my own to work out plans and a bit of solitude at times can be a very positive thing.
"In English county cricket, in the old days, you might be playing Durham and drive five hours down to Southampton for a one- day game and then drive for three hours somewhere else, so I'm used to time on the road."
Reeve is highly regarded for his sharp cricketing brain. At Warwickshire he played alongside West Indian great Brian Lara and was coached by the late Bob Woolmer.
He pushed, and broke, cricket boundaries. He was one of the first batsman to regularly play the reverse sweep, and he also played in the first county side to successfully chase 300-plus in a one-dayer.
Reeve brings to Central a reputation for improvisation that is likely to endear him to the likes of the flamboyant Ross Taylor, though he claimed that was a tag thrust upon him by others.
"Innovative is something that someone else puts on you and I just weighed up the pros and the cons of where to put men in the field and what degree of risk you might take with a certain shot.
"I was lucky to have played and captained at a time at Warwickshire where myself and Bob Woolmer, we did analyse the game and give it the attention I believe it deserves.
"To me, playing the reverse sweep when the field is set a certain way is just the right thing to do. Other people would describe the shot as innovative, but if you practice it, it's just like playing any other shot."
Central boast four contracted Black Caps in Taylor, Jamie How, Jacob Oram and Michael Mason and win titles when they're around but struggle when they're away.
Reeve is looking forward to inspiring the younger players and believes the silverware will follow.
"I'm looking forward to getting my teeth stuck in and inspiring them to create an environment which challenges them in a positive way to get the best out of their abilities."
His policies will be about maintaining a positive environment. Negative emotions like frustration, boredom or anger won't be allowed.
"You'll have to come into the dressing room and be passionate and excited about the day and show recognition to your teammates.
"That sort of environment can be a very, very positive thing and that's the challenge of a coach, to make sure that people are playing that way.
"There's very exciting times ahead."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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