Cricket: Donald and Woodhill yet to sign NZC contracts

By Andrew Alderson

New Zealand Cricket still haven't confirmed future contracts with Black Caps assistant coaches Allan Donald and fielding coach Trent Woodhill.

Both came off contract shortly after the World Cup. Head coach John Wright stated his desire to keep working with the pair after the side's semifinal finish in Colombo but it is yet to eventuate. A new manager, physiotherapist and fitness trainer are also needed.

Donald was widely touted to have helped on the pace bowling front since his arrival in mid-January, particularly mentoring Tim Southee and helping his charges master reverse swing. Woodhill was recognised as the ringmaster behind the New Zealand fielding - where they arguably saved the most runs in the competition.

A number of factors are believed to be hindering a final decision. The appointment of former Australian coach John Buchanan as overall cricket director has slowed down the process temporarily as he acclimatises to his new role and involves himself in key decision-making.

Wright was understood to be reluctant about having a cricket director when the idea was first mooted. He does not want anything preventing him coaching the national team on his terms.

However, he respects Buchanan, having coached against him with India in three memorable test series in the early 2000s.

Donald is holding off signing a contract as he finalises terms. He may also have aspirations to take on an Australian assistant-type role after being granted an interview last month.

The South African is no stranger to regularly changing where he plys his trade. He has worked at county (his former playing home Warwickshire) and national consultant level for England, as well as coaching the Mountaineers side in Zimbabwe before taking the New Zealand role.

Woodhill has been continuing with the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League after the World Cup but is likely to consider a further offer after that. At the World Cup, he indicated it suited him to keep working in his current role to learn more from the likes of Wright and Donald, despite ambitions to be a provincial and national head coach long term.

Woodhill's involvement could be impeded if NZC want him based in New Zealand working out of the new base at Lincoln. Until now the 40-year-old has remained based in Sydney, where his partner lives and works. NZC is also likely to request that both men work closely with the New Zealand high performance, emerging player and under-19 programmes so they get value for money, given the Black Caps are not in action again until October against Zimbabwe.

Following that, the side embarks on a test tour to Australia, receives a reciprocal tour from Zimbabwe and has South Africa arrive in the new year.

If Donald and Woodhill are re-signed, their next assignment is likely to be helping out with the New Zealand emerging players side at next month's tournament in Brisbane.

- Herald on Sunday

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