John F Reid, so monikered to differentiate him from another famous New Zealand cricketer – John R Reid, has passed away in Christchurch, aged 64.
New Zealand Test cap No.144, Reid played a key role in the success of the 1980s New Zealand team, and was the man responsible for establishing both NZC’s high performance centre at Lincoln, and its underlying grassroots development programme.
A gentle and affable man, Reid was nevertheless one of New Zealand’s most resolute and determined batsmen, prepared to spend hours at the crease enduring unfamiliar and sometimes hostile conditions in the pursuit of an advantage for his side.
In the 19 Tests he played, Reid scored 1296 runs at an average of 46.28, including six centuries; 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*.
The exception was his 108 against Australia at the ‘Gabba in 1985, when he combined in a third-wicket stand of 284 with Martin Crowe to form the backbone of New Zealand’s match-winning first innings total of 553/7 declared.
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.
Initially recruited in 1996 by NZC’s first chief executive, Chris Doig, he was the guiding hand behind the development of not only the organisation’s high-performance programme, but also the entire high-performance infrastructure at Lincoln – including the Bert Sutcliffe Oval and supporting grounds, and the indoor training facility.
Reid departed NZC in 2005 to take on a role with Sport NZ as its senior advisor of talent identification.
A champion of community sport, he was an inaugural trustee of the Selwyn Sports Trust and advocated to the Selwyn District Council on the need for a sport and recreation centre that made a priority of community level participants within the district.
He was the Council’s Major Projects Property Manager since 2015, overseeing some significant building projects in the area.
In recognition and honour of Reid’s tireless work in both community and high-performance sport, the Selwyn District Council last year named the sports hall at the newly-established Selwyn Sports Centre at Foster Park, the John F Reid Courts.
NZC chief executive David White said Reid had not only been a champion player but also one of the most influential administrative figures within the game – understanding the close relationship between community and high-performance sport.
“His passing is an enormous loss and our thoughts are with his family and close friends,” said Mr White.
“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 will be greatly missed.”
Reid is survived by his wife Karen, their daughters Amanda and Carolyn, and his six grandchildren: Eva, Charlotte, Ruby, Blake, Heidi and Reid.