Kenya news November 29, 2011

Hesson's Kenyan baptism of fire

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mike Hesson, who took over as Kenya's coach in July, has told the Otago Times that he arrived to find players in dispute with the board and that his first role was to act as a mediator between the two factions.

Hesson quit after six years as coach of Otago and moved his family to Nairobi to take up the two-year contract. He was in no doubt as to the challenge ahead of him after Kenya's dismal performance at the World Cup.

"We had eight players on strike seeking better pay and work conditions, including most of our fast bowlers," he said. "After a brief settling-in period I ended up acting as a go-between for the board and players. It meant trying to master Swahili fairly fast. I understand more than I speak but I'm getting the hang of it.

"Basically the players weren't getting the greatest of advice. There are lots of issues here based on tribal loyalty. You respect what your elders tell you out of blind faith."

Hesson said the situation had now been resolved and that the 18 fully-contracted players "who live well by African standards; they're probably in the top half of earners in the country".

He had already seen what he has to work with on matches with Namibia and Zimbabwe and is now focussing on next year's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka with two spots up for grabs for Associates.