New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White was making few apologies for the messy system that stripped Ross Taylor of the Black Caps captaincy though he would like to see his board removed from that process in the future.
White came under fire yesterday as he announced that Brendon McCullum would replace Taylor at the helm of the New Zealand team.
NZC's plan to keep Taylor involved as test captain and have McCullum handle the ODIs and T20s backfired when Taylor refused their offers and then pulled out of the tour of South Africa.
That has left the Black Caps without their best batsman to confront the No 1 ranked test team in the game.
Taylor's strained relationship with Hesson was first revealed by Fairfax Media at the Twnety20 World Cup in September and has been simmering ever since, ending in the inevitable.
White's only regret was that the last rights on Taylor's captaincy were played out in the media while he was in Dubai, attending International Cricket Council meetings.
White scoffed at suggestions he should resign over the mess that has left fans and former players highly critical of his organisation.
"I am not walking away from this job. People who know me, know I'm here to do a job," a defiant White said.
"The one thing that is regrettable is that I was overseas for five days at an ICC conference and attending to some other very important NZC work.
"Is it a fault of mine that this issue wasn't addressed earlier? You could possibly say, yes. But as CEO I wanted to sit here in front of you and front you personally.
"I'm not embarrassed ... I'm just saying it has been a challenge with the timing issues. It has been difficult with myself being out of the country and I put my hand up for that. It takes time to work through these things."
White confirmed he had been "in consultation" with coach Mike Hesson over the captaincy situation during the tour of Sri Lanka.
He backed Hesson's decision to alter the captaincy structure and that had in turn been approved by the board - a fundamental required in the constitution.
Asked about the suitability of the board to judge cricketing issues like this, White said: "It's an interesting question that has been raised at board meetings. It's in the constitution and I know it's something the board are considering addressing in the very near future.
"I personally think that it's a management decision, not a board decision.
"The captaincy call has also raised the issue of Hesson's increasing power and the relevance of John Buchanan as the director of cricket.
"John Buchanan was consulted in the process," White said. "He put forward a recommendation but ultimately we supported the recommendation of the coach as he is ultimately responsible for the performance of the team.
"Buchanan and White were on a five-man panel that recommended Taylor ahead of McCullum when the captaincy debate raged in June last year.
Asked what had changed since then, White replied: "We've got a new coach. The coach is ultimately responsible for the performance of the team.
"Clearly Hesson felt the T20 and ODI struggles he had witnessed in two tours and a T20 World Cup could be helped by fresh thinking in the captaincy department.
White didn't believe there had been a breakdown in the relationship between Hesson and Taylor and felt the coach's offer of the test captaincy to Taylor reflected that. He also denied suggestions that Taylor had lost the dressing room and wanted to distance McCullum from the process that has placed him as captaincy.
"We have to separate Brendon from this. I know he has been supportive of Ross Taylor since he was made captain. Brendon is a quality person, he's got integrity and I don't think he can be linked to this in any way.
"White didn't believe this was a public relations disaster that could affect the looming tour of New Zealand by England which should be a huge money-spinner for the game here.
"I don't think this will have a significant (effect). Ultimately we will be judged by performance on the field.
"Asked if there could be a commercial knock-on, he said: "I've been in dialogue with sponsors. It's not an ideal situation but we will work through it."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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