Former New Zealand cricketer John F Reid, who played a key role in their success in the 1980s, has died in Christchurch at the age of 64. The former Test batsman was responsible for establishing both New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) high-performance centre at Lincoln, and its underlying grassroots development programme.
In the 19 Tests he played, Reid scored 1296 runs at an average of 46.28, including six centuries; with his highest coming in the blazing heat of Colombo in 1984, when he scored 180 in 685 minutes against Sri Lanka.
Reid, a cousin of Australian left-arm paceman Bruce Reid, was the fastest New Zealander to 1000 Test runs, taking just 20 innings.
Recognised as one of New Zealand’s best players of spin, the left-hander scored all but one of his six centuries against sub-continental opposition, striking a purple patch in the away-and-home series against Pakistan in 1984-85, when he compiled consecutive scores of 106, 21, 97, 148, 3 and 158*.
“His passing is an enormous loss and our thoughts are with his family and close friends,” said NZC chief executive David White in an official statement.
“Quite apart from anything else, John was the most lovely, engaging man who inspired all those around him, including generations of young men and women cricketers,” he added.
Playing at a time when cricket in New Zealand was still amateur and when most home-based players had day jobs, Reid — a high school geography teacher — opted against going on the 1985 tour of the West Indies, instead choosing to devote his energy to his pupils.
He later stepped away from teaching to become the first chief executive of Auckland Cricket before returning to it in a different form — turning his hand to coaching and high-performance development, and becoming a highly-respected mentor and administrator at NZC.
It was Reid who took on the role as New Zealand caretaker coach for the centenary season of 1994-95 after the controversy-ridden tour of South Africa in 1994, guiding the national side through a bumper summer that included visits from the West Indies, India, Australia, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.
And it was Reid who took on the role of White Ferns assistant coach in the 12 months leading up to the team’s victorious World Cup campaign in 2000.
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