Cricket writer at New Zealand's Herald on Sunday

A man for a crisis

Mike Hesson is young but experienced, and has excellent man-management skills which will help New Zealand in a tough year ahead

Andrew Alderson

July 22, 2012

Comments: 1 | Text size: A | A

Mike Hesson has been named New Zealand's new head coach, Auckland, July 20, 2012
Mike Hesson: A logical choice © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

Mike Hesson may be unknown to many cricket folk outside New Zealand but he is the logical local choice to replace John Wright as national head coach.

At just 37, it's early for him to be taking charge but he is a worthy appointment, with a CV demonstrating abilities to organise, empower, listen and advise. He will initially have to live with the stigma of having "never played for New Zealand" or even any first-class cricket. However, try telling that to the rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Graham Henry and league coach Graham Lowe who were not international players.

Hesson was in contention for the job with New Zealand assistant coach Trent Woodhill, Glamorgan coach Matthew Mott and South Africa's mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton.

New Zealand Cricket could not afford to repeat the decision of July last year when Hesson, a former Otago coach, left on his ill-fated trip to coach Kenya, frustrated at the board's inaction while appointing a national selection manager (former Bowls Australia high performance manager Kim Littlejohn) and a team manager (former Blues rugby manager Mike Sandle). The appointments panel deserves plaudits for coaxing Hesson back into the fold.

Hesson must now prove why New Zealand is capable of producing its own mentors, coaches and leaders rather than looking offshore. Besides, his new role has got to be easier than walking into a player mutiny on his first day on the job in Kenya, where he had to scramble with pidgin Swahili so he could act as a go-between for the players and the board. Such an unflappable approach should benefit the New Zealand team on its intimidating itinerary over the next ten months which includes series in India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England, who will also to be played at home, and the World Twenty20.

A former opening batsman, Hesson was a three-time 12th man for Otago, ranked behind Matt Horne and Mark Richardson in an eight-year career with the wider squad. Yet few people have gained as much respect as Hesson has from the players, coaching staff and media in the cricket community. His main hindrance is lack of a public, by virtue of his selflessness. He puts his players first.

That was emphasised in his first media conference. Hesson stressed the need for players to make their own decisions rather than having their hands held. He proved it can be done with Otago, where he spent 15 years perfecting his trade under the likes of Glenn Turner, and was elevated to head coach in 2005-06. Otago have traditionally struggled for talent and manpower but Hesson galvanised the talent with his communication skills and work ethic. The result: Otago won their first title in 20 years - the State Shield in 2007-08 - and backed it up with the Twenty20 championship a year later. They were also unbeaten in the 2006-07 first-class season.

Hesson has coached New Zealand A on a number of tours, and helped mentor Nathan McCullum, Craig Cumming, Gareth Hopkins, Neil Broom, Aaron Redmond into national ranks. His recruitment skills brought South African-born fast bowler Neil Wagner and batsman Jonathan Trott to Otago.

Hesson has long held ambitions to coach New Zealand. Cumming, Otago's former captain, had said of him: "While he's young, he's spent his whole working life as a coach so he's aware of player problems. A lot of us, when we leave school, try to be cricketers but Hess went down the coaching route, doing a lot of the groundwork in the technical stuff which players can take for granted." Cumming said Hesson's man-management was a reason why he continued well into his 30s.

In 2009, Hesson was shoulder-tapped for a government-funded coaching accelerator programme alongside then All Blacks assistant (now head) coach Steve Hansen. Dr Alex McKenzie, from the New Zealand Academy of Sport North Island, who had also taught sports psychology at Otago University, ran the programme. "One thing we looked for was people capable of coaching world or Olympic champions," McKenzie said. "New Zealand Cricket thoroughly endorsed him and said if he wasn't a coach, he'd make a great business CEO because of his organisational skills." He said Hesson was rational, relaxed and someone you could trust in a crisis.

So he fits the bill, especially after the saga of losing Wright.

Andrew Alderson is cricket writer at New Zealand's Herald on Sunday

RSS Feeds: Andrew Alderson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by shaileshij on (July 22, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

in FOOTBALL jose was not player ,bt is a grt tacticain n sucessful coach (bt sometime wid negativ tactic) .............so not necessary for sucessful coach to be sucessful player

Comments have now been closed for this article

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Andrew AldersonClose

    'Kenya cricket is dead'

Aasif Karim's dream spell against Australia in 2003 symbolised a brief golden period for Kenya, but since his retirement, the country's cricket has nose-dived. By Tim Wigmore

    Wicket-taking oldies, and English centurions

Ask Steven: Also, playing against most teams, highest ODI scores by batsmen out hit-wicket, and Flying Stumps

    'McGrath never talked about luck'

My Favourite Cricketer: Michael Kasprowicz admired Glenn McGrath's consistency and positive nature

'He's the rock of West Indies' batting'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar on the impact of Shivnarine Chanderpaul's run-scoring

The work that is county cricket

Jon Hotten: Players toil all season, but fans don't really get a sense of the scale of effort involved

News | Features Last 7 days

Shiv's not-outs, and hit-wicket victims

Also, top-scoring in both innings, most Test dismissals caught, and the oldest Test centurion

Dhoni clears the stadium

Plays of the Day from the Champions League T20 match between Chennai Super Kings and Perth Scorchers, in Bangalore

'You can't survive 66 Tests on the basis of a quota'

Ashwell Prince talks about proving critics wrong, scoring hundreds against Australia, and that unending partnership in Colombo

Nine-ball mayhem: Seven boundaries, broken bat, and a wicket

Chasing Chennai Super Kings' 242, Dolphins opener Cameron Delport played nine action-packed deliveries in his innings. Here's what happened ball by ball

Umar Akmal gives Raza the glare

Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Dolphins and Lahore Lions in Bangalore

News | Features Last 7 days