Cricket: Coaches' turn to play the waiting game

By Anendra Singh

For someone adept in helping blokes refine their batting and bowling grip, Alan Hunt is effectively reduced to twiddling his thumbs for now.

Still an employee of Central Districts Cricket until the end of this month, Hunt finds himself at the crossroads of a first-class coaching career after missing out on the Auckland Aces gig this week - that job went to former international batsman Matt Horne.

Now he finds himself in the Northern Districts muster, hoping to make it past the first-round cut for the shortlist at the business end.

"If I don't get the ND job, particularly, it could signal the end of my coaching career," says the 53-year-old who made it to the final three applicants for the Aces job.

"I think it was a pretty close call," says Dunedin-born Hunt, a former bank employee who runs a mortgage-broking business in Auckland.

With only the credentials of a three-year, full-time professional stint with CD, the former Auckland first-class and New Zealand U23 player suspects he may have to fall back to his financial prowess if ND doesn't pick him up.

He bears no grudge against Auckland, lauding them for staying loyal to Horne who has progressed through their coaching structure.

"Matthew has been involved with their A side, the under-19s and he took over the [one-day Ford] trophy side last summer."

No doubt there's still a burning desire to coach, having applied for both jobs not long after the bails were lifted on the 2012-13 season early this year.

He fits the mould of the first-class requirements of experience and the bonus of having won the Ford Trophy and Plunket Shield with CD.

"Being organised is critical and having the technical and tactical awareness is up there with people and man-management skills.

"I can't worry about other people [applicants] but focus on what I can bring to the table and if that's sufficient and if I'm going to be the right person for the job," he says, knowing who the two interviewers are on the ND panel but waiting to meet the third, new CEO Peter Roach, an Australian.

He isn't casting an eye towards the horizon just yet although he's had the "odd approach" from overseas agents.

"I don't want to go down that track just yet because I'm still collating more experience for a position," Hunt says, revealing his family is equally significant in the decision-making process.

CD chief executive Hugh Henderson yesterday confirmed the applications for a new Stags coach closes at 5pm today.

"We're happy with the New Zealand number and calibre and also the number of genuine expressions of interest from overseas," Henderson said, not keen to reveal actual figures but confirming overseas applicants were predominantly from Australia and England.

He and CD director of cricket Craig Ross will make a shortlist next week before interviews with the hopefuls start the following week with a panel of four, including board member Campbell Furlong and a players' representative.

Henderson reiterated the new CD coach would focus primarily on the Stags' campaign and not have other district responsibilities weighing him down as Ross would fulfil those duties.

Former Stags and Black Caps seamer Lance Hamilton will carry on assuming the mantle of assistant coach and team manager as he also works with the CD men during the off season.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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