If Gary Stead gets the rubber-stamped approval from the New Zealand Cricket board to be the next national coach, it will be a deserved appointment that comes with a proviso.

This is captain Kane Williamson's team now.

The 28-year-old has brought an inclusive style since graduating to the fulltime leadership role in April 2016. His sportsmanlike mantra from eight years at international level has influenced how the world perceives New Zealand cricket.

Williamson has skippered New Zealand in 17 of his 65 tests, 53 of his 127 one-day internationals and 33 of his 51 Twenty20s.


What's more, he is surrounded by senior players who have helped fashion one of the great New Zealand eras. The likes of Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor and BJ Watling, with an average age of 30, also potentially have years left to play.

Stead no doubt has an immense knowledge of the game, having played at all levels, but the streetwise course of action will be to take a back-seat to Williamson and co in the fledgling stages of his tenure, much like Mike Hesson did once he had installed Brendon McCullum as skipper.

Williamson is more introverted than McCullum, but his cricketing mind is no less astute. This is his chance to bloom.

Stead should be gifted a smooth transition into the role, with next winter's World Cup a major target.

The 46-year-old will bring ideas which helped guide Canterbury to three Plunket Shield titles in the last five seasons and the 2016-17 Ford Trophy, alongside taking the White Ferns to international finals in the 50-over and 20-over formats during 2009.

A key difference from his six seasons as Canterbury coach will be that most players already have established international careers. That provides a contrast to developing his charges at domestic level. In theory, a more collaborative approach might be required.

Stead appeared to meld well when filling in for batting coach Craig McMillan over the 2016-17 New Year period. New Zealand were playing Bangladesh and he put a decent shoulder into the spaghetti ladle, delivering relentless throw-downs to Williamson in the Saxton Oval nets.

The result? Williamson finished 95 not out in the next day's eight-wicket victory.


Importantly, Stead knows the value of grafting as a cricketer. The former batsman played five tests for New Zealand in 1999, averaging 34.75, and accumulated 101 first-class and 103 List A caps for Canterbury over a 15-season span.

He looks a sound pick.