Cricket: Hesson stands firm amid attacks

Mike Hesson. Photo Getty
Mike Hesson. Photo Getty
Mike Hesson quit his last international cricket coaching job because of the bombs going off around him. The bombs these days are of a considerably different nature but no less noticeable.

Controversy has followed the New Zealand coach for most of his short tenure since being appointed to take over from John Wright in July. If he was looking for more 'security' in his role following his last gig, it was sadly misplaced.

Hesson quit as coach of Kenya 11 months into his two-year contract after his young family fell victim to an attempted car-jacking and a grenade exploded near their house in Nairobi. It was an entirely understandable move - Kenya's capital is referred to Nairobbery for good reason.

"There were a number of challenges - dealing with administration and tribal issues and, obviously, security," Hesson said last year. "Some of those experiences were great, some not so good, but certainly very valuable."

He's likely to see the experiences of the last six months as valuable as well - it seems his nature - and he hasn't wavered in his belief that he can coach at the top level and improve a New Zealand side that is at one of its lowest ebbs in history.

"No, not at all," he said this morning without hesitation when asked if he had ever doubted his ability over the last six months.

"It's been a challenging time, the last month in particular, but [I'm] very focused on the World Cup in 2015. We want some clear direction in terms of where we are heading and that's a huge focus for us.

''In terms of test cricket, we have lacked that consistency that has unfortunately affected us for a while and we are still searching for answers there. We have certainly been competitive in the short forms and winning the other day, beating the No 1 side in South Africa, was a nice start to the [one-day component of the] tour."

It was also a good way to help distract attention away from last week's revelations over bowling coach Shane Bond's letter to NZC over concerns about Hesson's handling of the Ross Taylor saga. Hesson had every right to choose the captain he wanted but it was the way he went about it that has caused such angst.

Bond felt compelled to write to NZC chief executive David White on December 11 after Taylor was removed as captain following November's tour to Sri Lanka.

Bond said in the leaked letter he felt Hesson has been "dishonest" in the fallout from Taylor's sacking, that Hesson's timing of his "calculated" removal of Taylor "seemed like sabotage" and was also critical of Hesson's subsequent "cover-up to save face".

Hesson said the pair had met and cleared the air and, like everyone at NZC, are trying to move on. It's been difficult to do that when new twists to the story crop up with amazing regularity.

"When Shane arrived in South Africa, the two of us had a pretty open and honest discussion where we viewed each other's points of view and we agreed that, for the best interests of the team, to move on," Hesson said.

"This was dealt with a number of weeks ago - the day we arrived in South Africa - and Shane and I have worked very well since and will continue to do so."

Hesson said when he was selected from 39 candidates and appointed to the New Zealand position it was his "dream job". The dream, sadly, must have often felt more like a nightmare.

- Michael Brown of APNZ

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