Hesson: 'I'm confident Black Caps will do well in World Cup'

Enjoying phenomenal success as coach over the last six years, Mike Hesson guided the Black Caps to new heights across all three formats.

Mike Hesson has decided to step down as New Zealand coach next month.

Brendon McCullum says Mike Hesson is “the best coach the Blackcaps have ever had”. Even the other players echo similar sentiments about the 43-year-old Hesson, who would quit the New Zealand coaching job next month.

Enjoying phenomenal success over the last six years, Hesson guided the Black Caps to new heights across all three formats. But now, he plans to take a break and then assess his future plans.

In an exclusive interview with Sportstar on Thursday morning — a couple of hours after announcing his decision — Hesson makes it clear that this was a tough decision to make as the team is preparing for next year’s World Cup. But then, he also admits that he will be the biggest supporter of the Kane Williamson-led side, when it travels to England for the World Cup next year.

Excerpts...

You have shocked the cricketing world with your decision to quit as a coach. With the World Cup a year away, what made you take such a decision?

It was certainly a tough decision to make. The timing I think is never right with an international team but straight after the World Cup, the Test championship starts and a year later, there’s the T20 World Cup. I am very comfortable with the state that the team is in and we have got a terrific leadership group. Kane (Williamson) is a great leader, then there are very good senior players and very good support staff. I am very confident that the Black Caps will be fine.

So, what are you planning to do next?

It is something I will have to look at in the little period. First and foremost is to spend time at home and then reassess from there.

Recently, you were in India as a commentator in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Now are you considering a commentary stint?

That’s certainly an option I will have to look on over the time. But the key for me is separating the two things at the moment, and obviously finishing with Black Caps. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last six years and gave in everything. Now, it is a matter of sitting back and reflecting what is next. I certainly enjoyed my time working with Star Sports India.

In the last six years as a coach, what are the memories that you would take back home?

We won a lot of Test series away from home and those were very special. The World Cup (in 2015) was a special time. The World T20 (in 2016) was just after changing captain (Williamson replaced Brendon McCullum). Kane was a new captain and the new group was special as well. There are lot of great memories.

You have worked with both Williamson and McCullum. What are your thoughts on the two?

Kane is a great leader and he has certainly evolved over the last few years — both as a leader and as a batsman. His game will go from strength to strength with more leadership and more responsibilities.

What about McCullum? You had spent quite a lot of time with him…

I thoroughly enjoyed working with McCullum and he did a fantastic job with the team in Test cricket and then in the World Cup. That was perhaps the pinnacle point for New Zealand cricket. That was some amazing couple of months and Brendon played a huge part in that. For the team, he left at the right time and then Kane took over the responsibility.

Despite some great success, the team failed to win a World Cup. As a coach, do you regret that?

Look, the six years were amazing. There was lot of cricket. We became the highest-ranked team in the one-day cricket and played a World Cup final in 2015. We are playing some good cricket at the moment and I think the Black Caps certainly have a good chance in the next World Cup. I will certainly be one of the biggest supporters.

Now with the World Cup a year away, the planning must have been ready. What would your advice be for the players and the next line of coaching staff?

We are a very inclusive group. A lot of planning takes place by the players and the support staff and those are the team’s plans and not just my plans. I am happy to share the information with the incoming coach, who would certainly have a good idea how we would operate in England and then make a good team. There are also (support staff) guys like Craig McMillan (batting coach) and Shane Jurgensen (bowling coach) to assist.