Ben Sawyer has been confirmed as head coach of the New Zealand women’s team.

Sawyer, most recently an assistant coach with the Australia women’s side, begins his job immediately having signed a two-year contract. The first assignment will be the Commonwealth Games at the end of July followed by a tour of West Indies.

“I can’t wait to get stuck in,” Sawyer said. “I see a lot of potential in this White Ferns group and I feel really optimistic about helping to untap that potential, so they can take their cricket to the next level.”

“It’s certainly going to be a learning process as I get to know the players and they get to know me, and my cricket philosophies and coaching style.”

Sawyer joins New Zealand after what has been a controversial couple of weeks following the announcement of the new central contracts – of which he was not part of the process – that saw leading batter Amy Satterthwaite retire from international cricket when she was told she would not get a new deal.

Fast bowler Lea Tahuhu was another notable omission as NZC said they were putting a focus on youth and T20 with an eye on next year’s World Cup following a disappointing home ODI World Cup where they failed to make the semi-finals.

Captain Sophie Devine hoped that Sawyer would be able to impart his knowledge of the hugely successful Australian set-up.

“We’re really looking forward to working with Ben and receiving the benefit of his experience,” she said. “He’s been a key figure in the ongoing success of the Australian women’s team and we hope we can tap into that bank of experience and grow together as a team.

“The upcoming Commonwealth Games campaign in Birmingham and the tour to West Indies will be really helpful in that regard – there’s nothing like away tours for bringing a group together and sharing a common purpose.”

Sawyer is also coach of Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred and was previously head coach of Sydney Sixers in the WBBL. He had been due to be part of the Australia A men’s tour of Sri Lanka this month before the New Zealand job emerged.

His move continues the significant changes to the Australia coaching set-up after Matthew Mott departed to be head coach of the England men’s white-ball team.