BJ Watling, one of the few New Zealand players to perform
well in the test series against South Africa. REUTERS/Rogan
Mike Hesson is safe as coach for now, but the test
capitulations in South Africa could have far-reaching
consequences for the make-up of New Zealand's future tours.
Hesson's men were crushed by innings defeats in Cape Town and
Port Elizabeth by the Proteas, the No1-ranked test team, and
while New Zealand Cricket's director of cricket John Buchanan
said a change of coach wasn't the answer, he admitted the
Black Caps' reputations had been harmed and they could play
fewer tests in future.
The International Cricket Council's Future Tours programme
has outlined touring activity for the major test playing
nations until 2020. New Zealand are slated to play two or
three tests for all tours - the ICC minimum is two - but it
would be no surprise to see them lose a test as a result of
the embarrassing recent run of results.
Few countries will see a test against New Zealand - ranked
8th ahead of only Bangladesh - as a major drawcard,
especially given it could be over early.
"Certainly, performances such as this and what we have
experienced in recent times are not going to enhance our
reputation as a test-playing nation, that's for sure,"
"Any major changes to be made to [Future Tours programme]
requires a vote at the ICC and I would suspect that's not
going to change too much but I would suspect our capacity to
play longer test series or longer tours, in other words more
games, is somewhat impacted I would think."
New Zealand could find themselves playing more ODIs and T20s
at the expense of tests, which could tip the balance even
further from the longer form of the game.
New Zealand, under new captain Brendon McCullum, were found
badly wanting in South Africa. The low point was the 45 all
out in the first innings of the first test before they
rallied somewhat in the second innings with a 275. However,
there was more of the same in the second test with scores of
121 and 211.
The batsman were poor against one of the best attacks in the
world and Buchanan admitted technique was an issue. However,
he said the deficiencies were fixable but would take time.
"South Africa is a very good side, the No1 side, they,
Australia, England and to some degree India, are really
creating a bit of a gap between themselves and the rest of
the field at the moment and that's a bit of a concern,
test-wise anyway," Buchanan said.
Of Hesson, who is contracted until the end of the 2015 World
Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Buchanan said: "He's a
young coach, he's learning, and one of the things that I
think we do need to establish as quickly as we can is to put
some stability in and around the Black Caps, whether that be
on the field, or off the field with support staff. I think
"We can't just keep changing things because we don't get the
results we want. Obviously there still needs to be that
accountability, no question, but I don't think it's time to
say the team hasn't gone well since Mike Hesson has been at
the helm for three or four months so it's time for another
"[However] I can understand New Zealand cricket supporters
and stakeholders being disgruntled at the moment,
New Zealand now play three ODIs in South Africa, starting at
Paarl on Saturday night NZT, before returning home to prepare
for the three-test, three-ODI and three-T20 visit of England.
One glimmer of hope was the suggestion by former captain Ross
Taylor - on a self-imposed exile after his axing as skipper -
that he could make himself available for Central Districts at
the end of the month and then be in the frame for England in
February and March.
"The first thing he has to do is make himself available for
CD and once he's there I think it's all systems go," Buchanan
- Patrick McKendry