Corey Anderson: ‘Hesson has been right up there’

New Zealand all-rounder Anderson is going to miss Mike Hesson as he prepares for an international comeback. He believes the new coach will have a challenging role with a year to go for the World Cup.

Anderson was an integral part of the New Zealand side that ended runner-up in the last edition.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Having bloomed in Mike Hesson’s classroom in the New Zealand cricket team, it is tough for Corey Anderson to bid goodbye to his first coach; particularly when the all-rounder is flexing his muscles to make an international comeback.

The 27-year-old Anderson — who last appeared for the Black Caps in June 2017 — went under the knife to repair a back fracture last year. In February, he made his first-class comeback for Northern Districts and then, received a call-up in the Indian Premier League to represent Royal Challengers Bangalore.

As Hesson has decided to step down come July, Anderson can’t thank him enough for the guidance. “It’s sad to see him go. When I started playing for New Zealand, he was in charge. He gave me opportunities. In four or five years, I could see from a distance how much New Zealand has grown into what it is. The credit goes to him. At the international level, there is a difference between an average coach, a good coach and a great coach. I think he has been right up there,” Anderson told Sportstar in a telephonic interview from Christchurch.

With a year left for the World Cup, Anderson believes it will be challenging for the new coach to fill in Hesson’s shoes, who guided the Kiwis to the final in 2015. “We had a core group for a good period of time and I think he knew what the team needed. He will leave a big hole like the time when guys like Brendon (McCullum) and Dan (Daniel Vettori) left; it is going to be a similar thing,” said Anderson, who registered the 36-ball 100 record in Hesson’s regime in 2014.

Grant Bradburn, the current coach of Scotland, is in the reckoning for the top job. He is a respected figure among the Kiwis for his coaching stint with the Northern Districts in the late 2000. Anderson, Williamson, Trent Boult — all have played under him. “He has been good as a domestic coach. I enjoyed my time with him. Now that he has coached Scotland and has found success, he understands what serves well. But at this stage, it’s all speculation,” he said.

Road to the World Cup

He is optimistic that the senior players in the side will help Williamson and as a unit, New Zealand will fight hard en route World Cup. “I didn’t get to spend enough time in the team since Kane became the captain but I have played a lot of cricket with him. He is an absolute legend in his own right. What Brendon did with captaincy, Kane is putting his own spin to it and he is trying to make sure the team continues what Brendon had started,” reasoned Anderson, adding, “There is a strong group of core players with Tim Southee, Boult and Martin Guptill. Kane can reach out to anyone for help if needed. We can hopefully build our way to the World Cup.”

New Zealand doesn’t have enough assignments this year to prepare for England and Wales 2019. The series against Pakistan in the UAE in October wouldn’t be of much help but that’s not a concern for Anderson. “A handful of guys will play in different competitions, the Caribbean Premier League and the other T20 leagues will follow. I will be heading to Somerset for T20 blast. The World Cup, since in England, is going to be slightly late than it normally is. There will be plenty of cricket before the tournament kicks in,” he said.

Anderson was an integral part of the New Zealand side that ended runner-up in the last edition.

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