Gary Stead was reluctant to take a "pre-planned" break from the Black Caps but there is nothing sinister about the decision to sit out the one-day international series against India.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White has hit back at stinging criticism of his national coach after it was announced that Stead would not be at the helm of the Black Caps for the three-match series against Virat Kohli's touring side - despite the recent thrashing in the T20 series, following the 3-0 sweep in the test series in Australia.

The announcement led to an outcry of disbelief, including from former Black Caps captain Jeremy Coney who labeled it "ridiculous" and suggested Stead find a job in a hardware store.

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Addressing the media ahead of the first ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton, White said that while he "could understand the passion", the criticism of Stead was unfair and that the decision, taken by NZC, was an attempt to hold onto Stead.

"Player and support staff workload is a big issue in international cricket. We lost our last coach Mike Hesson [who resigned suddenly in June 2018] to workload issues," White said.

"We want to make this role sustainable going forward and that's why Gary is having a week off."

White also revealed the decision was taken some six months ago and that Stead was reluctant to take a break.

New Zealand Cricket CEO David White. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand Cricket CEO David White. Photo / Photosport

"It's been a challenging time for us but this planning was done six months ago. If you go back and look at the timing - the World Cup, then a tour to Sri Lanka, then a full tour by England, then going to Australia and then playing India now, it's been a big time commitment so we identified this series," White said.

"And it's not only Gary. Chris Donaldson [the Black Caps' strength and conditioning coach] is having the week off this week and we're constantly rotating our support staff to ensure that they manage their workload.

"Of any sport in New Zealand, cricket has the most demands for time. These guys are away from home for a long time and we must manage their workload."

Prioritising the T20 World Cup later this year, as well as the new Test Championship, was also a consideration in the timing, said White.

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"For this Indian tour we've prioritised preparing for the T20 World Cup... so the five T20s were a priority and obviously the Test Championship is a priority.

"When we did the schedule some six months ago, Gary has always been a reluctant coach to have a break. The man works very, very hard so as managers we must manage his workload or we will have burnout. As you know, coaching at international level is one of the hardest jobs in cricket."