Adam Parore: Bracewell offers his neck - time to chop

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Listening to John Bracewell's pronouncements this week made it clear New Zealand Cricket should get their skates on and hasten the appointment of his replacement as national coach.

As I heard Bracewell suggesting Stephen Fleming would have made a difference to the test series defeat in England, point the finger at his fellow selectors for the former captain's departure and by implication suggest all was not well between Fleming's replacement, Dan Vettori and himself, it sounded as if Bracewell was trying to goad NZC to bring forward his departure.

Bracewell's contract finishes at the end of the Indian series next April. NZC are in no rush to replace him. They should be.

And I'd suggest if they go to Bracewell and say they had a replacement ready in a month's time, he would happily step aside. He has other commitments to take up next year and would probably welcome a short sabbatical.

To take the three elements one at a time ...

Flem would have made no difference to the outcome of the series. As with the just concluded home series he would have made his runs, averaged 40ish, slotted in a couple of stylish 60 or 70s and been somewhere near the top of the averages as per usual.

Would they have altered the 0-2 series outcome? No.

Would he have constructed a campaign of the magnitude of Andrew Strauss or Kevin Pieterson, both of whom made multiple hundreds and dominated the Kiwi attack home and away?

Probably not when you consider he made one test hundred in England in 19 innings. For Bracewell to suggest Fleming's absence was the reason for the team's failure suggests that he knows very little about cricket.

Clearly this is not the case, so why would he say such things? Furthermore - and while we are on the bridge-too-far tack - to suggest that Fleming might fancy a return to get away from changing nappies at 4am is just barmy.

It is also interesting to see him blowing the whistle on his fellow selectors - pointing the finger at his colleagues, Sir Richard Hadlee, Glenn Turner and Dion Nash, over removing the test leadership from Fleming. He says he was happy working with two captains - Fleming for tests, Vettori for one-dayers - but got outvoted. Whether or not it is the case, you simply don't talk up a division within the panel in that manner.

During the home series, Bracewell was pretty relaxed whether Fleming went to England or not. He can't now backtrack and say he would have made a difference.

If I was Vettori I'd be furious at the implication that he could not do without Fleming on the park. He may as well have just come right out and bagged him because the effect is the same.

Reading between the lines, something has happened between coach and captain to provoke this outburst. It's fair to say it would be pretty interesting on the team bus at the moment.

Bracewell knew the impact of what he was saying. His words were no accident. This was a general, all-purpose spray.

And that tells me, this is a coach who knows his time is coming. Are New Zealand as a test team any further on than they were when he took over? No, they are greener and this series in England had them treading water against a team far better at the five-day game than New Zealand have been prepared to admit.

The ODI series starting tomorrow night should be different. New Zealand are a good one-day outfit, they know their game and what works and I'd expect them to win it.

Who might NZC have in mind to replace Bracewell? John Wright is the first name on most people's lips but I'm certain if Wright and NZC wanted that the drums would have been beating loud and clear for some time.

They haven't, which tells me perhaps Wright doesn't particularly fancy it or NZC are looking elsewhere.

A young team needs an experienced hand. A Steve Rixon or John Buchanan would be ideal. If NZC have not got the ball moving by now, this week's utterings from England should be the signal it's time to get cracking.

- NZ Herald

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