Stead gets spell as head Canterbury Wizard

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 27/09/2012
Gary Stead
DAVID HALLETT/FAIRFAX NZ
STUDENT OF THE GAME: Former Canterbury batsman Gary Stead is the new coach for the Canterbury Wizards.

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Gary Stead was grilled over the fact he had never coached four-day cricket or coached men in the last four years but still clearly impressed Canterbury Cricket's appointment's panel.

The 40-year-old former test opener will today be named as Canterbury Cricket's new high performance director and Canterbury Wizards head coach.

Stead, currently in Sri Lanka where he's on his last assignment with the New Zealand women's team, replaces Bob Carter who last month joined the Black Caps coaching team as Mike Hesson's assistant.

Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon said Stead was a standout applicant though the subject of a lack of recent men's coaching was "discussed thoroughly".

Stead's involvement with the White Ferns has also meant a four-year diet of 20 and 50-over cricket but his first assignment with Canterbury will be in the first-class Plunket Shield arena.

"That was discussed thoroughly by the appointment's panel and we believe Gary's skills as an organiser and his knowledge of high performance sport, plus his knowledge of cricket generally - he's a real student of the game - still make him a standout appointment."

Stead's deal is a three-year one and he was one of only two candidates to make the short list.

He said he was "excited and proud" to be given the job, adding he was taking over a Wizards side in great shape.

"I think the work Bob Carter has done with them has been superb and I hope to build on that," he said from Galle.

"That's not to say I won't be looking right into how things are done and trying to add my own flavour to it."

Stead said wholesale changes would be counter-productive and, from what he could gather from his early assessments, unnecessary.

What Stead lacks in his experience at coaching at this level, he more than makes up for with his innovation, organisational and motivational skills and his provincial pride.

"This province means a lot to me," Stead said. "I want to do well with the Wizards and make sure the A side and the under-19s are all on the same path to do what's best for the association in the future."

He said it was tough to leave the White Ferns but saw the Wizards job as a natural progression.

He will inherit Carter's team as the former coach was responsible for the selection of the contracted players list and he inherits Carter's management team for at least a year also but was happy with his wider team.

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When the White Ferns' World Cup title bid is over, Stead will come back to New Zealand and join the Wizards setup before the side's first Plunket Shield game, against Otago in Rangiora on October 27.

Stead's goals are simple; win everything.

When he first played for Canterbury, Stead joined a side rich in top players used to winning titles.

Canterbury have been close in recent years with the 2010-2010 Plunket Shield title surrounded by a number of near misses, but the new coach will be hopeful of returning to the halcyon days he was part of as a player.

GARY STEAD

- Played five tests for New Zealand in 1999 against South Africa, India and the West Indies.

- The plucky opener scored 278 runs at an average of 34.75 with a highest score of 78.

- Played 101 first-class matches and 103 domestic one-day matches, a total of 190 for Canterbury, mostly as an opener and many as a captain.

-  Has coached the White Ferns since July 2008 and worked with New Zealand Cricket in a high performance capacity before that.

- Has been at the helm of the White Ferns in three World Cup finals but has only three runners-up medals to show for it.

- The Press

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