Mike Hesson named New Zealand coach
Mike Hesson has been confirmed as the new head coach of New Zealand and has been handed a contract until the end of the 2015 World Cup. Hesson, 37, previously spent six years in charge of Otago and took over as Kenya's head coach after last year's World Cup, but quit after 10 months in the role due to concerns over the safety of his family and their quality of life in Kenya.
He beat the Glamorgan mentor and former New South Wales coach Matthew Mott for the role, while the New Zealand and Delhi Daredevils assistant Trent Woodhill also missed out. John Wright will remain in charge until the end of the ongoing tour of the West Indies and Hesson's first tour with the squad will be the upcoming trip to India, which begins with a Test in Hyderabad on August 23.
He will become New Zealand's fifth coach in less than four years. John Bracewell stood down in December 2008 and his successor Andy Moles lasted barely a year. Mark Greatbatch then took over in January 2010 before being replaced by Wright, who spent 16 months in the job before deciding not to renew his contract beyond this year's Caribbean tour.
Wright cited differences with John Buchanan, New Zealand Cricket's director of cricket, as one of the reasons he had decided not to continue in the role. Buchanan said Hesson would bring a fresh approach and new energy to the New Zealand side.
"We were impressed with the way Mike presented himself and he was the stand-out applicant from a strong field of candidates," Buchanan said. "Mike has been a successful first-class coach with the Otago team in recent years and has also had valuable experience working with New Zealand A sides. He also spent some time assisting the Black Caps coaching staff during the 2010 Chappell-Hadlee Series and we're fortunate to have secured his services for the national team.
"Mike's impressive career path also includes the SportNZ Elite Coach Accelerator Programme where he not only had the honour of being selected for the programme, but finished as one of the highly commended participants. He will bring a freshness and new energy to the side and we know he is more than capable of developing and growing the team as we work towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015."
As a player, Hesson represented Otago's second XI but did not reach first-class level, and focused on coaching from a young age. In 1998 he became the youngest person to attain NZC's level three coaching qualification and from 1998 to 2004 he was the coaching director for Otago Cricket, before he took over as the national coach of Argentina.
From 2005-06 until 2010-11 he was the head coach of Otago and delivered them a one-day title and a Twenty20 title, and during that time he also served as the head coach of New Zealand A. David White, the chief executive of NZC, said Hesson had all the right coaching credentials to be successful in the job.
"He was earmarked early in his career as one of the most talented coaches in New Zealand and it's pleasing to be providing an opportunity to someone who is so deserving," White said. "Mike is highly regarded by his peers, the players he has worked with and the wider family of cricket and I believe he is exactly what the Black Caps need as we look to move our team forward."
Hesson will be taking over a side that sits seventh on the ICC Test rankings, as they stand before the West Indies series, and eighth in the ODI rankings. One of his early challenges will be to guide the side through the ICC World Twenty20; New Zealand are sixth on the ICC T20 rankings but failed to move beyond the group stages in the past two World T20 events.
"Having the opportunity to coach the Black Caps is very special for me," Hesson said. "I am passionate about cricket in New Zealand and doing the best job I can for the players and the fans of cricket in this country. My coaching philosophy is essentially built around setting world-class standards to produce excellence and that's what I intend to do with the Black Caps. It's a big challenge but one I'm ready for and excited about."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here