New Zealand to announce coach on Saturday

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Former Australian Test batsman Darren Lehmann is among the candidates to be the new coach of New Zealand's national cricket team.

Updated: January 29, 2010 13:36 IST
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Former Australian Test batsman Darren Lehmann is among the candidates to be the new coach of New Zealand's national cricket team.

Lehmann, 39, said he had been in talks with New Zealand Cricket, initially about a role as a specialist batting coach. He is now seen as a leading candidate to fill the job left vacant when Englishman Andy Moles quit in October.

The board of New Zealand Cricket met in Christchurch on Friday and said the new coach would be named on Saturday.

Former New Zealand test batsmen Jeff Crowe, now an ICC match referee, and Mark Greatbatch are among others who have been linked to the role.

NZC earlier this week dismissed reports that former South African coach Mickey Arthur, who quit his post on Tuesday, was in line for the appointment.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has been acting as New Zealand's coach, as well as a national selector, since Moles resigned on October 24, reportedly after critical appraisals of his performance from senior players.

Lehmann said today that New Zealand was a talented young side with the potential to significantly improve its world standing.

The South Australian, who currently coaches the Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League, played 27 Tests and 117 limited-overs internationals for Australia between 1996 and 2005. He is also president of the Australian players association and is regarded as a popular candidate with New Zealand's players.

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Ross Taylor has been named "standby captain" and will lead the New Zealand team if Vettori is sidelined for any reason during upcoming series against Bangladesh and Australia.

In a contentious move last year, New Zealand dispensed with the position of vice-captain which had been held by wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum. NZC has consistently rejected suggestions McCullum has been demoted, though it said Taylor's appointment was part of a plan to find an eventual successor for Vettori.

"The Blackcaps have deliberately not named a vice-captain in recent times as we wish to allow development of a broader leadership group," NZC general manager of cricket Geoff Allott said.

"We are fortunate to currently have two outstanding individuals in Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum who could both assume the captaincy in the event Daniel Vettori were not available."

New Zealand's series against Bangladesh begins with a Twenty20 international at Hamilton on Wednesday.

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