There was one undeniable truth to emerge from the Ross
Taylor saga - Mike Hesson is now the most powerful man in New
Sixteen months after a panel including director of cricket
John Buchanan plumped for Taylor as captain, Hesson rendered
that decision irrelevant.
So how did Hesson, a 38-year-old career coach, come to be in
a position of such control?
His trajectory to the top of New Zealand cricket was atypical
for an international coach, a position which usually arrives
after a lengthy playing career at the highest level or, at
least, first class cricket.
Instead, after representing Otago B an as opening batsman and
finding his path to the provincial side blocked by the likes
of Mark Richardson and Matt Horne, Hesson began his coaching
career 18 years ago.
"I needed to make a decision pretty quickly and I think it
was the right one," said Hesson after he was appointed Black
Caps' coach in July. "With coaching, you've got some real
longevity in the game."
In 1998, his decision began to pay off. The then 23-year-old
Hesson became the youngest person to attain an NZC level
three coaching qualification and put it to immediate use,
becoming coaching director at Otago Cricket.
During the five years he spent in the position Hesson was in
charge of older and wiser men, an experience which held him
in good stead when he earned his maiden view of the first
As assistant to two-time national coach Glenn Turner at
Otago, Hesson honed his coaching craft under a man who led
New Zealand to their first-ever series victory in Australia.
Hesson was making a name for himself within New Zealand
coaching circles and he began to be noticed at international
In 2003, he was appointed by the ICC as national coach of
Argentina in their bid to reach that year's World Cup. The
venture was ultimately unsuccessful but Hesson showed
promise, leading the South Americans to three wins after they
had previously lost 31 straight games.
The promise was parlayed into a promotion with Otago two
years later, with Hesson selected to succeed Turner as coach
of the first class side.
Hesson repaid the faith shown in him by Otago Cricket by
breaking a 20-year trophyless drought for the province, first
winning the one-day competition in 2008 and following it up a
year later with Twenty20 glory.
Now the province in which Hesson had spent his whole
cricketing life was starting to seem small.
Hesson's success had put him on the radar of NZC and he led
New Zealand A on various tours, but he wanted to make a
quicker contribution at the highest level of the sport.
Frustrated with inaction when Buchanan began his overhaul of
the NZC coaching system, Hesson grasped an opportunity for
growth. He accepted a two-year contract as national coach of
Kenya, initially unperturbed by turmoil on and off the field
in the fledgling cricket nation.
After 11 months in charge, though, Hesson abruptly left the
post after his young family fell victim to an attempted
car-jacking and a grenade exploded near their house in
"There were a number of challenges - dealing with
administration and tribal issues and, obviously, security,"
Hesson said. "Some of those experiences were great, some not
so good, but certainly very valuable."
That tumultuous time hardly made him hot property but, when
John Wright left his post, Hesson was selected from 39
potential candidates and appointed to his "dream job".
Just five months later Hesson has full autonomy but, during
the last week, that dream must have felt like a nightmare.
- Kris Shannon of APNZ