Cricket: Coach returns to basics after cleanout

By David Leggat

The backroom cleanout of the New Zealand team began yesterday - and there could be more to come, new coach Andy Moles opting for a more streamlined look.

Controversial peer assessment consultants Leading Teams' input has been reduced, and is under review.

When the first test against the West Indies starts in Dunedin next Thursday, the only support staff around the players will be Moles, a physiotherapist, a trainer, a computer analyst and team manager Lindsay Crocker.

Gone from recent campaigns are a psychologist, media manager and the specialist coaches.

However in the days leading up to the test, Moles will have batting and bowling assistants on hand.

National selector and former test opener John Wright will work with Moles on the batsmen, and Canterbury high-performance coach Shane Jurgensen will help the bowlers. Jurgensen impressed Moles with his work during a stint with the Emerging Players' side in Australia this year.

Previous specialists associated with the national team, Vaughan Johnson, Dayle Hadlee and Mark O'Neill, will be absorbed into other roles within New Zealand Cricket.

Moles insisted yesterday that the players will hear only two voices in the dressing room during tests and ODIs - captain Dan Vettori and him.

If players want a specific coach to help them in the leadup to internationals, Moles is relaxed about that.

"It's all about trying to give players as much access to the coaches they want to work with up until competition time. Then it's trimmed down to Dan and me," he said last night.

Moles wants room for clear thinking in the dressing room when the matches are on.

"I don't want mixed messages. It's a fresh approach, looking for clear ideas and getting back to basics," he said.

In Moles' book, it's straightforward. "It's all about moving forward and having the players continually challenged, then on match days giving them utter and total focus, and not

getting cluttered."

Leading Teams was the assessment system brought in during previous coach John Bracewell's reign. It included players using key words

to tell teammates what they thought

of them.

Depending on who you ask among the recently retired and current players, the system is either a useful tool or complete tripe and harmful to the team environment and players' ability to perform at their peak.

"It will be watered down," Moles said. "It's under review at the moment but going into the first test it will be used less."

He wants to discuss it fully with the squad once they assemble in Dunedin on Monday. Moles is not totally averse to a form of the assessment. It has been used at Northern Districts, where he was coach for the past two years, and been successful.

He has not seen the New Zealand team's model in action, but understands it to be "used to a more intensive degree around the Black Caps".

Moles said two days of talks with Vettori were highly beneficial, and confirmed his initial thinking.


"We'll get on and work well together. We both have similar philosophies," he said.

- NZ Herald

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