Raft of new cricket bosses face challenge of bolstering domestic Twenty20 league to compete with overseas events writes David Leggat.
There's a revolving door whirring away within New Zealand domestic cricket.
When the season starts in mid-October, only two associations will have the same chief executive as they did last summer: Otago with Mike Coggan and Pete de Wet at Central Districts.
Auckland Cricket moved yesterday to appoint their new boss, Iain Laxon, who has formerly had roles in the organisation as community cricket manager, and marketing and communications manager.
He replaces Mark Cameron, who resigned at the end of last season to become CEO at Bowls New Zealand.
Wellington have appointed Cam Mitchell to replace Peter Clinton; Canterbury, having lost Lee Germon to Australian Big Bash franchise the Sydney Thunder, have two acting ceos, provincial coach Gary Stead and Trudy Anderson, until their new boss, Jeremy Curwin, arrives from Somerset where he's been head of commercial operations, around the end of October; while Northern Districts are expected to make an appointment in the next fortnight to replace Peter Roach who has taken up a position at Cricket Australia.
Laxon likes the shape of the Auckland squad for the coming season.
"We've got a younger side which is going to take some time to grow and develop and emerge into a really tight unit," Laxon said. "But we did make really good progress last year in terms of guys going up to Black Caps level, which allowed us to blood a bunch of them into first-class cricket.
"That's good for the wider development around Auckland and it's a positive group of guys who are really energetic and passionate about it."
One issue confronting New Zealand Cricket, and by extension, its major associations, is how to improve the quality and standing of its domestic T20 competition.
New franchise competitions are starting in England and South Africa in the coming months. New Zealand's market isn't able to compete with the large T20 set-ups, such as the Indian Premier League and Big Bash League, but Laxon says there are plans to beef it up, to broaden the reach and fan base.
"How do we make what we've got into the best possible product for what's really attractive to crowds, TV and sponsors. That will attract other overseas players because they know it's a good level of cricket on good decks," he said."
The re-branded Burger King Super Smash T20 will begin on December 13, with Auckland hosting Central Districts at Eden Park's outer oval. Games will be played at 11 venues with 15 of the 32 games broadcast live.
The competition starts earlier than last season and New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said the public had made it clear what the best window for the shortest format was.
"We made some changes to our T20 competition last year and the feedback we received was really positive," he said.
"The popularity of the games being played over the Christmas and New Year period really shone through, so you can expect to see even more of that this season.
Super Smash 2017-18
● A total of 32 matches; 30 round robin matches, an elimination playoff between second and third, and the final
● The competition will be played across 11 different venues between Invercargill and Auckland
● SKY Sport will broadcast 15 of the matches, including both the elimination match and final
● There will be live commentary of 15 matches on RadioSport