Former Otago coach Mike Hesson: "All the security advice we
had was that things were not going to get better." Also
pictured is Selwyn Grave's barber Leanne Andrews. Photo by
Former Kenya and Otago coach Mike Hesson got a haircut
Not news, normally, but then things are just a bit more
sedate in Dunedin than in Nairobi.
There were no grenades going off and the only thing to fear
was his barber taking a bit too much off the top.
It is a far cry from his life in Kenya where security
concerns forced Hesson to cut short his coaching tenure 10
months into a two-year stint and return to New Zealand with
"I had a number of incidents in my own car when you'd get
your wing mirrors smashed off and your windows punched in,"
"Those sort of things you just go, 'Oh, well, that's just
Kenya, you have to toughen up a bit'.
"But when I was away in Dubai, Kate [Hesson's wife] had an
incident with four guys with crowbars trying to break into
the car while she was in it.
"Obviously, Kate was pretty overwhelmed by that.
"There was another similar incident with a guy on the roof
and a couple of guys either side trying to shake the car and
the kids were in it.
"That happened in the middle of the day in a decent sort of
"Then the next day a grenade went off not far from our house.
"All the security advice we had was that things were not
going to get better."
With terrorist group Al-Shabaab stepping up its attacks in
Nairobi, explosions were a regular rather than rare
occurrence, Hesson said.
"At that point we decided this is not the place to be for the
family. The career is going well and I'm enjoying the job but
family comes first."
Hesson had planned to stay on for the next series against
Namibia but the series was cancelled by the ICC because of
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Hesson does not believe it
was a mistake to uproot his young family and move to Kenya.
There were a lot of positive experiences.
"It was great life experience for us and the kids. We patted
some lions, we went on safari and were within metres of
hundreds of different species of animals. In the end, Holly
(5) was an expert on all sorts of things and learned a lot of
The Hessons arrived back in the country on Tuesday night
after five flights and 48 hours travel. They are staying in
Waihola and plan to catch their breath before making any big
Kate has secured employment as a solicitor, and will start
work in the next few days.
As far as Hesson's coaching future is concerned, there has
been wide speculation he is one of the frontrunners to take
over from Black Caps coach John Wright when he steps down at
the end of the West Indies tour.
Hesson has been in touch with New Zealand Cricket but not
specifically about the coaching role and plans to spend the
next few months looking after his daughters, Holly and
Charlie (22 months).
He certainly did not rule out applying for the job but will
wait until he has seen a job description before making a
There has been suggestions the head coaching role might be
split to help lighten the load.
"When I first heard the idea I was not so sure. If you have
all the responsibility of the job, you want to have control
"But the more you think about it, the more it makes sense,
especially when you look at the scheduling.
"Also, in between tours, you can work with the players who
are not involved in the current tour and would be able to do
a more thorough job with that group.
"If the job is not split that would make things harder in
terms of the time you are away travelling, so that would be
another consideration as well."