Gary Stead's untimely absence from Blackcaps coaching duties has been slammed by former national captain Jeremy Coney.
The cricketer-turned broadcaster is astonished the NZ head coach has left his team staring down the barrel of sporting humiliation in a one-day series against India.
New Zealand have lost eight straight international matches across test and T20 formats, leaving the Cricket World Cup runners-up in crisis for a series against the world's second-ranked side.
New Zealand Cricket confirmed Stead's leave was approved earlier in the summer, but Coney is still shocked the former test batsman hasn't backtracked.
"Could you see Steve Hansen leaving the All Blacks after they're one down against the Lions," Coney told NZME.
"It's a change in format, at a particular part of the season where there are different players coming back and returning, and some new ones [coming in].
"A chance to turn it round, a chance to say 'can we do something different, can we stop this bloody train?'"
A fired-up Coney is bemused Stead will be missing from the ODI series, given the side was "marmalised" in Australia and hammered "five-zip at home" by India over 20 overs.
Coney implored NZC to reconsider Stead's leave, given recent results in a season described as "the most important we've had for 10 years".
"Wouldn't you think they would be talking about closing out games. Who is the finisher in this team?
"Who could be not out at the end of the innings and get us across the line?"
Join us for live updates of the opening one-dayer between the Blackcaps & India from 3pm Wednesday.