Former Test batsman Gary Stead has been appointed as the new head of New Zealand, the Cricket Board said on Wednesday.

Stead who replaces Mike Hesson, signed a two-year contract with the national side. Hesson resigned in June this year.

The 46-year-old is a highly successful coach of provincial side Canterbury. He also had a stint as a batting and support coach for the Kiwis in 2016-17 summer.

He joins the side, nine months before the 50-over 2019 World Cup. His first assignment will be tour against Pakistan for limited overs and test cricket series this October.

“It’s a matter of helping maintain New Zealand’s strong form on the international scene, but also respecting what’s happened over the past four or five years by continuing to push for improvement,” said Stead in an NZC release.

“This is a well-established and high-performing Black Caps side with an excellent captain in Kane Williamson, and a real desire to win series and titles. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of that, and I can’t wait to get started,” he added.

Note: Stead has played five tests (all in 1999) for New Zealand.

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