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New Zealand long way off Test pace - Hesson

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 28, 2013

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Mike Hesson will replace John Wright as New Zealand's head coach, Auckland, July 20, 2012
Mike Hesson is now starting to plan for the visit of England © Getty Images
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The New Zealand coach, Mike Hesson, is under no illusions how brittle his Test side remains but has been buoyed by the one-day series victory against South Africa.

New Zealand were humbled by an innings in both Tests on the tour, which included being bowled out for 45 in Cape Town, before turning their fortunes around with one-day success and they came within a whisker of a whitewash only to lose the final ODI off the last ball.

''In Test cricket, we've still got a long way to go," Hesson admitted on his return to New Zealand. "We're a long way off the pace in Test cricket, we have to acknowledge that, and we know we have a lot of work to do."

Achieving one-day silverware went against recent form for New Zealand who had slipped to ninth in the rankings, but the form of experienced allrounders James Franklin and Grant Elliott, a fantastic hundred from Kane Williamson, and the emergence of Mitchell McClenaghan, the left-arm quick, were the catalysts for gritty performances.

"We had a few new faces and a few older ones that came back and they were really keen to make an impact and they did,'' Hesson said. "When they came back, they lifted the whole vibe. We were a bit down after the Test series, there was no doubt about that. We were clearly outplayed.

"But the work we put in between then and the end of the tour, mentally as much as anything, was pleasing. We attacked that first game with real aggression and I think we stuck at that throughout the whole series."

Hesson's focus now switches to the visit of England for a full tour which includes three matches in each format, starting with the Twenty20s, and the Tests in March will be another thorough examination of New Zealand's credentials in the longer format although they should be boosted by the return of Ross Taylor.

"The Twenty20 is first and that will be our focus for a start, but we''ll be trying to build on this series,'' Hesson said. "We want to improve with every series. We're not world beaters yet; we've played three pretty good games, but we're looking to improve more in the T20s and leading into the one-dayers."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Glenn10 on (January 30, 2013, 5:51 GMT)

Jordanious, Hesson's mistake you refer to happened to a huge one and then he lied through his teeth to make it all go away. For most people that's inexcusable. Not the fact he didn't play1st class cricket. In my eyes his biggest error is not picking a test team that can take 20 wickets or score more than 200 runs. Selecting a team is the making of a Coach, and frankly this bloke has no idea picking test players. Selecting Patel, Frankilin (Sure pretty good in ODI or T20), Flynn, (Fails time and time again), Wagner (Test bowling average near 100.... ok 95) and Munro (Who to be fair was a fill in at Test level). With Guptil, (who has now proved he's only a T20, ODI player only), and Bracewell both so far out of form, there's not much left of the team. There were other options, scant I agree, but that's his job? Source the right talent for the right teams T20, ODI and Test and pick them when in form. An example of that was Grant Elliott in the ODI side - a good selection in form.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

Totally agree with those who've said that Hesson needs to go. The best players don't necessarily make the best coaches, but this bloke didn't even play first class cricket, and his man management skills are appalling, judging by how he treated Ross Taylor. He also did absolutely nothing of note when he was Kenya's coach. How he got the NZ job only NZC know!

Posted by Nutcutlet on (January 29, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

I can't make up my mind about the 'We're not up to Test Cricket' utterances of the NZ coach. I sense that there's something political going on here. The subtext may be: I'm not making any claims at all for our Test side, therefore if we do better than expected (v England), we can all be heartened. Privately, I believe that we'll do ok. Besides, if the England side thinks it's on holiday after a tough tour of India, then they might take things easily; that will give us additional motivation. We just could give them a surprise of two... and I'll be hailed as a successful coach! There has to be a reason for his utterances. He didn't need to say anything... Things are never as simple as they seem, are they?

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (January 29, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

@RandyOz Nice to see you back after the Sri Lanka disaster. True enough. New Zealand will provide England with a pretty decent challenge, especially at home. It's going to be England's major opposition for the year.

Posted by StevieS on (January 29, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

thenoostar are you saying India are no good? He has 3 tons against them including a double, he hasn't even played a test against England or SA.

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 29, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

Not to worry Hesson, you're facing England soon so should get a few easy wins up!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (January 29, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

@Sombrehombre Very well-reasoned and level-headed comments. As you say, when your population is only 4 million, you can't afford to miss your 4 best players for preventible reasons. I also get the sensation that New Zealand suffers more than most teams with injuries, particularly to the attack (there must be a reason for this). It's also a pretty sombre illustration of how being the national sport affects things: New Zealand's 4 million are more than capable of seeing off England's 50 million in rugby and, in the 1980s, the island of Antigua - population 80000 - could have beaten most Tests sides of the time. However, there is a lot of danger in saying "yes, it will be all right when Taylor is back" just like England used to say the same of Ian Botham, or Michael Vaughan, or Andrew Flintoff, or... The sad fact is that New Zealand are struggling and a lot of the problems seem, to an outsider, to be self-inflicted.

Posted by WinNZ on (January 29, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

Mike Hesson & Brendon McCullum must put New Zealand before their pride. McCullum is not really a Test Cricketer. Ross Taylor on the other hand has proven credentials especially with the amazing Hobart win against Australia and the recent Sri Lankan win despite the shortcomings in the batting and bowling of the team as a whole. As Coach , Hesson should not hesitate to make Taylor Test Captain. If he feels there are areas of improvement as Coach he should be identifying these areas and helping Taylor win. New Zealand Cricket should take a strong stand and hold Hesson responsible for the poor performances especially when it is the result of bad decisions .

Posted by Stecka01 on (January 29, 2013, 4:03 GMT)

Ryder's 201 vs India was pretty good, regardless of the batter-friendly pitch. Zaheer, Sharma and Harbajhan in 2009 were a good attack. (BTW Taylor got 150 in that test also).

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