Less than five months after resigning as New Zealand coach, Mike Hesson has taken up a new role as head coach of Kings XI Punjab in the IPL. In June this year, Hesson had stepped down from the New Zealand job after a six-year tenure to take a "break from the rigours of international cricket", one year before his contract was meant to expire after the 2019 World Cup.
The 43-year old will replace Australian Brad Hodge who was the head coach of Kings XI last IPL. Led by R Ashwin, Kings XI started IPL 2018 with five wins in their first seven matches to finish as the joint leaders at the halfway stage. But their form cooled off in the second half and they ended the season second from bottom, prompting murmurs about changes in their coaching staff.
Hesson, who will be in India this week, is set to sign a two-year contract. It is understood that Hesson will be given the freedom to appoint his own coaching staff. Consequently, it remains to be seen whether former Indian batsman Virender Sehwag, who had been the mentor at Kings XI, will continue in his role following Hesson's appointment.
Hesson is the fifth New Zealander to work as head coach in the IPL after Martin Crowe, John Wright, Daniel Vettori, who was the head coach at Royal Challengers Bangalore till last season, and Stephen Fleming, who still coaches Chennai Super Kings.
Although Hesson has never been part of franchise T20 leagues, he brings a lot of experience and heft as a successful international coach. Under him, New Zealand became a dominant Test team and also made the World Cup final in 2015. In 59 T20Is under Hesson, New Zealand won 30 and lost 24.