New Zealand Cricket will have to relaunch its search for a new Black Caps coach after favoured applicant Matthew Mott opted to re-sign with New South Wales for another two years.
Mott's decision came as a welcome surprise to Cricket NSW chief executive Dave Gilbert, who said he was elated with Mott's decision to stay with the Blues.
"It was up in the air there for a while, but in the end he felt there was still work to do with our current batch of players and decided to stay," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"He worked with a lot of our younger guys when they were coming through the ranks, and they are now starting to take on important roles in the senior team. Motty is keen to see the job the rough, and we're delighted about that."
Mott had kept NZC on tenterhooks as he agonised whether to accept the offer to replace coach John Bracewell next April.
"I'm definitely keeping my options open. I'll be brutally honest, it's about a 50-50 split at the moment," Mott said last week.
"There always comes a time to move on, and whether that time's now ... in an ideal world I'd love to have another couple of years here."
Mott, 35, was widely known to be NZC's preferred candidate since the withdrawals of South Africans Graham Ford and Mickey Arthur narrowed the shortlist to three: Mott, Northern Districts' Andy Moles and national under-19 coach Dipak Patel. Moles appears to be next in line.
Outside coaching Australia, Mott said it was the next best job for him on the international stage.
"From what I've heard Dan Vettori is a very good captain and a fresh bunch of senior players around him are keen to make a difference.
"With the management changes there seems to be a good young vibe with a bit of a blank canvas, which is what appeals to me."
Mott said he'd had positive discussions with NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan who'd been "exceptional" in not placing a deadline on the offer.
Complicating matters was a hectic early-season schedule with NSW, while his wife Taryn gave birth last week to their first child, Jai. The shift to New Zealand would have moved them away from their family support with Taryn's family in Sydney and Mott's mostly in Brisbane.