Blackcaps v India: Gary Stead backs leave decision, focused on topping India

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead wants to put the controversy over his scheduled break from the national team behind him.

New Zealand Cricket sent Stead on leave for the Indian one-day International series, a move planned months in advance.

But after eight straight international defeats, some questioned the timing of his brief departure.

Former New Zealand captain Jeremy Coney was scathing of both NZC and Stead for not re-evaluating the decision.

But a refreshed Stead is focused on the daunting task of toppling the No.1 test side in the world, starting with the Basin Reserve clash, which gets underway on Friday. 

"I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion," Stead said. "I mean what Jeremy Coney says about me doesn't necessarily have relevance to the way we go about things. 

"New Zealand Cricket and I have talked about this for a long time in looking after our staff and our players, and we did that. 

"We have to move on and we have to look ahead to the India test series now."

Stead admitted he was "surprised" by the public reaction to his break from the side, but unequivocally backed his employer's stance on player and staff welfare.  

Former coach Mike Hesson stressed the need for time away from cricket when he stood down two years ago. Hesson talked of the need for mental breaks from the intense environment of international cricket - a sentiment NZC endorsed, implementing scheduled breaks for their coaching staff throughout the season. 

"It was good to spend time with the family," said Stead. "I had four or five days rest with the family, and then I was back at work, planning for this test series. 

"Again, they're distractions that don't need to be there, but now it's time to move on and prepare for India

"I know New Zealand Cricket is doing what we think is right for us as people first and foremost."