New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has said his team will take plenty of positives from their tour of Africa, despite losing the one-day series to South Africa 2-1. The tour finished with New Zealand's loss in the final ODI in Durban on Wednesday, but they had beaten Zimbabwe in the ODI series that began the trip, beat Zimbabwe in a T20 and shared the T20 series with South Africa.
New Zealand entered the tour without some of their key players, with Brendon McCullum and Tim Southee rested, and Trent Boult and Corey Anderson missing due to injuries. Kane Williamson captained the squad in McCullum's absence and Hesson said he was pleased with the way several newer faces took to international cricket.
"It was a pretty fair reflection of the performance," Hesson said. "I think we were a little bit off song in all three departments. South Africa were on song, they adapted to conditions better than we did and they put us under pressure.
"Overall I'm still delighted with the tour in terms of what we wanted to achieve. Sure, it's a disappointing way to finish but it doesn't take the gloss off what's been an excellent tour for us moving forward as a cricket side. We've unleashed a number of new players and a few other players have come back into the fold as well."
Tom Latham was New Zealand's third-leading run scorer across the whole tour and scored his maiden ODI century against Zimbabwe, and Doug Bracewell enjoyed the South African bowling conditions in his first one-day internationals for more than two years. Legspinner Ish Sodhi was another who was given a chance and claimed six wickets in the first six ODIs of his career.
"Ish played a lot of cricket and I thought he got better and better as the tour went on and grew in confidence," Hesson said. "He didn't pick up the wickets I thought he deserved at times but I thought he was excellent. The South Africans looked to go after him and I thought he held his composure nicely.
"We couldn't ask any more of Tom. He and Martin were outstanding at the top throughout both the one-day series. He scored at a good rate, playing good quality cricket shots. Delighted to be able to give Tom some consistent opportunities and then for him to take it adds to our depth nicely.
"We had a very strong seam bowling attack over here even without Trent and Corey. We had a lot of competition for places. Doug certainly forced his hand through performances and earned the opportunities that he got. Really pleased with the consistent areas he bowled and the way he adapted to different conditions."