Coach stands by decision to dump Taylor, appoint McCullum

Mike Hesson
Mike Hesson
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson regrets a communication breakdown between him and dumped captain Ross Taylor, but stands by his decision to make a drastic change.

One of the messier sagas in New Zealand sport culminated yesterday in Brendon McCullum's appointment as Black Caps captain in all three formats of the game.

McCullum, a 31-year-old King's High School old boy and second-generation Otago representative who began his cricket career at Dunedin's Albion club, is the first Otago player to lead New Zealand since Ken Rutherford, who was captain from 1993 to 1995.

Taylor, stripped of the captaincy after declining an offer to remain skipper only of the test side, has pulled out of the tour to South Africa and said Hesson had ''never supported me through the whole time I'd been captain''.

Hesson was to fly back to Dunedin last night, looking forward to a weekend with his young family before taking the new-look Black Caps to South Africa.

He confirmed to the Otago Daily Times the leadership issue came to a head when, at a one-day series review in Sri Lanka on November 13, he told Taylor he would recommend the captaincy be split.

''That was based on the amount of cricket that's played. For one person to do that job is a tough ask,'' Hesson said.

''Ross is still sort of newish to the role. I felt it would be far better if he focused on the test game. Brendon brings some real quality in terms of adaptability. The fast-paced game suits his style better.''

Hesson acknowledged he should have been more specific regarding his plans for the split captaincy.

''I felt, because it was the one-day review, it was self-explanatory. But it obviously wasn't. I certainly regret that.''

The pair's relationship became ''strained'' as a result, Hesson acknowledged.

The decision was based on what he had seen since being appointed in July. It was purely about getting better results in limited-overs cricket.

''Our one-day ranking is ninth. We've won five of our last 30 games against top eight opposition. I believe we needed a change.

''I thought Brendon's skill set would fit the team nicely. Brendon has to stamp his mark on things now, and I'm confident he's got the ability to do that.

''It's a tough ask, taking on all three roles, but I know he's keen to get into it.''

Details emerged yesterday of a meeting between Taylor, Hesson, assistant coach Bob Carter and manager Mike Sandle before the first test in Galle last month.

''They told me I wasn't good enough as a captain, wasn't good enough for this team,'' Taylor told The New Zealand Herald.

Taylor (28) confirmed he had declined New Zealand Cricket's offer to be test and tour captain, saying having a split captaincy would lead to ''confusion''.

''I was offered the test captaincy a couple of weeks [after the Sri Lanka meeting], when it was clear to me from conversations, they didn't want me at all,'' Taylor said.

''It wasn't huge shock.

''Hesson never supported me through the whole time I'd been captain, but I was surprised by the timing.''

Taylor acknowledged he was not the perfect captain, but said he felt he had improved.

''I was far from the finished product, but I lacked a lot of support from the management in a lot of areas, which was disappointing. Under [John] Wrighty, I was learning a lot; under Hesson, the relationship was pretty poor. I didn't think he supported me in that role.''

On the question of his relationship with McCullum, Taylor was matter of fact.

''We're teammates and I fully support him. I'm behind him 100%.''

It is not clear whether Taylor will return for the marquee home series against England, though he made it clear he has unfinished business in the sport.

McCullum was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Additional reporting: The New Zealand Herald



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