Hesson: ‘Test cricket will survive as long as there is context'

Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said the World Test Championship is “critical” for survival of Test cricket.

Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson believes World Test Championship will help the longest format of the game stay relevant.   -  Vivek Bendre

Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said the World Test Championship is “critical” for survival of Test cricket.

As per the International Cricket Council (ICC), the nine top-ranked sides will compete in the championship with each side playing six series on a home-and-away basis against mutually selected opponents in a two-year cycle. This will happen soon after the World Cup.

“Test cricket will survive as long as there is context. The World Test Championship is critical to its survival. If there is no context to matches and they just operate bilateral tours in isolation, then the relevancy will disappear over time,” Hesson said.

“People are getting scared that Test cricket is disappearing, but I think that’s not the case. There is still a high level of interest,” said the 44-year-old Hesson. “With the World Test Championship, you know that you play eight Tests over a two-year period. Players love playing Test cricket and playing for their country, but if you add context, that leads towards a points table or final or whatever, then it has so much more meaning,” he explained.’

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‘You don’t win silver, you lose gold’

If you are a sports enthusiast, there is no way you could have missed these lines. The Australian cricket team, with Ricky Ponting as its captain and John Buchanan the coach, had made this a popular phrase in the world of sport.

It resembled the Aussie way of cricket. The star-studded team believed that the Australian culture is all about taking pride in playing for the country and coming home with a win. And to bag a win, if they had to sledge the opponents, they would.

But even though they are neighbours, New Zealand approaches the game differently. For the Black Caps, it is about playing to the potential but also giving equal respect to the opponents.

“We are very competitive, some people forget that just because we don’t sledge too much and give others the space,” former New Zealand coach Hesson said.

“You would like to believe that everyone is unique to their own style of playing as they have grown up. We have got a humble group of people. We are competitive, we back each other, but we are also very, very respectful of our opposition and their strengths. We are a well-rounded country in terms of personality and that allows us to respect other cultures,” Hesson, who guided the New Zealand team to the semifinal of the World Cup in 2015, said.

Even his former ward and New Zealand’s swashbuckling opening batsman, Corey Anderson, admits that donning the national colours is big for players. “(On the field), we are representing ourselves and the one and half million people back home. It is a big thing. So, we need to take our wins and losses...,” Anderson said.

On IPL

  • Mike Hesson is now the coach of Kings XI Punjab. The Kiwi coach says, he is still getting to know the team. He is also scouting talents. “Getting to know the team around Kings XI Punjab has been an important part of the last couple of weeks. I am doing some scouting and running some trials. I have enjoyed it." Though it would be his first stint in the IPL, Hesson is impressed with the league. "Every year, the skills the bowlers bring are different. Last year we saw the knuckle ball for the first time. Before that we saw the slower bouncer. Every year we see bowlers coming up with different initiatives.”

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