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New Zealand long way off Test pace - Hesson

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 28, 2013

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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 Gagg 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).

Posted by bobbo2 on (January 29, 2013, 3:36 GMT)

@thenoostar. Ryder made 200 against India, who at that time were playing better. And he averages over 40 which for NZ batsman of late, is uncommon. He is a class player and in my opinion, heads and shoulders NZ's most naturally gifted batsman.

Agree also in the McCullum comment here. Yes Taylor was treated poorly, but before he made some runs and NZ beat Sri Lanka, everyone thought another person should be captain.

McCullum isn't in the best form right now but I think he is the man for the job. I watched all 3 one dayers in SA and the team played well over all three matches.

With Taylor, Ryder, Vettori, Southee and Ronchi to come into the team, I think we actually look the best we have for a while on paper. If we had a decent bowler over 140 clicks, that would be a big bonus.

Posted by vrn59 on (January 29, 2013, 3:19 GMT)

Today's world Test XI: Smith, Cook, Amla, Kallis, Clarke (C), Chanderpaul, Prior (wk), Philander, Steyn, Ajmal, Anderson. Second-tier Test XI: A Petersen, Trott, Sangakkara (C), Pietersen, Samuels, de Villiers, Dhoni (wk), Swann, Umar Gul, M Morkel, Siddle.

NO NEW ZEALANDER IN EITHER TEAM! PERHAPS ROSS TAYLOR CAN MAKE IT INTO THE THIRD TEAM, BUT EVEN SO, NO ONE ELSE! WHAT A SHAM! The best Test players today are from England and South Africa only, with a few exceptions like Michael Clarke, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Saeed Ajmal.

Posted by Aleckto on (January 29, 2013, 1:38 GMT)

Way off test pace is a bit of an understatement. I just cant get past the fact hesson has NO credentials he hasn't even played first class cricket add that to his abominable people skills and we the public are left thinking "why is he in this position". One ODI series win does not mean anything as far as the quality of the coach is concerned, weve all know we have the talent and stringing 2 wins together doesn't mean anything. NZC NEED to loose the deadweight, we have a good crop of young players that will perform under anyone from time to time. Just think what could be achieved if we had a qualified coach, someone that the players could trust in. Hesson needs to go, NZC should take some pride in itself and not settle for some nobody whos fumbling his way through his position. With a good crop of players my grandmother could coach the blackcaps

Posted by SameOld on (January 29, 2013, 0:18 GMT)

Really, where did NZ find this guy? Two famous Test wins within 12-13 months, a captain/batsman averaging over 50 for almost 18 months, a promising pace attack developing nicely, a drawn series in Sri Lanka... Consistency is still a big problem, and so is the top order, but the single biggest question the Black Caps face at the moment is how much rope will Hesson get?

NZ were taken apart in SA, but imagine Australia touring there without Clarke, Hussey, Siddle or Johnson. Or England without Anderson, Cook, Trott or Swann. Or any other side without their best four players, and in the midst of a massive internal rift.

The fact is the Test side was, after a grim period, showing signs of real hope in SL, but Hesson smashed that to pieces with his mismanagent and lies. Now he's back, spinning away, trying to deflect blame for his errors and claim credit for any and all success the team might have.

Hesson is a cure worse than the disease afflicting NZ. Fire him.

Posted by RobTay14 on (January 29, 2013, 0:00 GMT)

@thenoostar. Pretty sure he made 200 against India..

Posted by thenoostar on (January 28, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

What is the obsession with Ryder? We have yet to see him make runs in tests against anyone good.

Posted by Sombrehombre on (January 28, 2013, 20:58 GMT)

Wow a lot of criticism of NZ on here, much of it is justifiable but some is rather ignorant. For me, RichDeGroen (surely not the legend himself!?) sums it up nicely. Taylor was treated like dirt and hung out to dry by a lying fiend. His match winning performance in SL, in light of this, was nothing short of legendary.

However, it was the timing and way the change in captaincy was handled that was despicable, not the decision itself. I firmly believe McCullum is a better captain than Taylor. McCullum is bold, intelligent and proactive and hopefully in the light of day he will prove himself a fine NZ captain.

The team itself is admittedly average by international standards. The fact that a nation of 4 mil has ever been able to compete with the billions of India and every other far more populous and wealthy cricketing nation is simply staggering. As a kiwi, this is what makes me most proud.

Posted by hhillbumper on (January 28, 2013, 19:36 GMT)

I think England should do New Zealand a favour and play a weakened team.Pick Kieswetter as wicket keeper and Dernbach as bowler. That should even things out a bit. Or to really weaken the team we could pick some Aussies.

Mind you given the amount of saffers in New Zealand and England team there will be more playing than in the last test Series

Posted by RichDeGroen on (January 28, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

@Lermy, actually Taylor was treated like crap and then made to look worse by a lying toad of a coach. He didn't sulk, he went out and scored a matchwinning century to tie a series in Sri Lanka. But he felt he couldn't play to the level required in SA after a stressful time and couldn't face working with a new captain and coach - who remember, had told bald faced lies to the public to make Taylor look bad - and he opted out of one tour. He is now available again - which is more dignified behavior than I would manage. I would want to break some bones. So give the guy a break - at least he can perform his job to a high level - which Hesson and McCullum clearly cannot.

Posted by Lermy on (January 28, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

Ross Taylor has to be the most over-rated cry baby in international cricket since Kim Hughes. I lost the captaincy so I'm taking my bat and ball and running off home. Stuff the team, its all about my poor hurt pride. If he wants to be a professional cricketer, where is his commitment to the job and the team? One thing's for sure, he doesn't have the mental toughness to be an international captain.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (January 28, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

Mr. Hesson, has shown a huge lack of tact and manners ..... an inability to communicate , and poor leadership qualities .....

watching Hesson work outside Australia, makes my AWE of Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor increase exponentially ....

Imagine this is what those two LEADERS had to put up with while molding one of the greatest teams in the History of cricket ....

Posted by GeraldCalt on (January 28, 2013, 15:04 GMT)

Afraid I agree with Lillan to a point. It's not the players who are going to be tested but Hesson. And he was the one that made the biggest call ever in NZ cricket. If it doesn't work it's his fault. On a not entirely un-related matter, I'm a bit worried about Brendon McCullum. He doesn't have a very good record of captaincy (in terms of results) as it is and without any runs to back him up... I'm not sure he's one of the six best batsmen in the country at the moment.

Posted by gsingh7 on (January 28, 2013, 14:45 GMT)

nz is really lo3w on confidence and talent these days as new crop is average at best , world need nz to rise again to be competitive again , recent whitewash in india and sa have set them back for few years , maybe they recall back ryder to steer this unstable ship.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (January 28, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

If Ryder and Taylor both are in team than only new zealand have any chanc eto win a test vs england still not series.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 28, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

If Hesson is worthy of his job he should be doing everything he can to beg Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder to make themselves available for the March Test series against England.

With both of them - not just one - they can aspire to do well. With only one of them they are sitting ducks, and so is he.

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