Mistakes inevitable; cut Hesson some slack

Last updated 05:00 10/12/2012
Mike Hesson
MIKE HESSON: Admits he may not have been clear that the leadership change he wanted was only in the limited overs game.

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OPINION: Mike Hesson might just have spent the weekend jotting down a few things to remember in the future.

Note No 1 should be: "Don't walk into Brendon McCullum's hotel room a couple of days out from the first test in South Africa and tell him I don't think he should be captain of my team."

If he does avoid another brain fade, and that's the kindest description I can muster for a family newspaper, then he might stand a chance of seeing out his New Zealand Cricket contract.

At least Hesson will find solace in the fact he can get the hell out of Dodge in a few days' time and put 11,763km between himself and the rabid talkback callers who have been jamming Radio Sport's phone lines since Thursday afternoon.

It's also hard to remember the last time cricket boasted so many newspaper column inches. Even the Black Caps' remarkable win in Hobart has been dwarfed by the in-depth post-mortem of the captaincy saga.

I find it remarkable.

The so-called cricket experts out there, the majority of whom fit into the category of fairweather friends, in my mind, never bat an eyelid when Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka or the West Indies change captain at the drop of a floppy hat.

Yet somehow it is a national crime when the New Zealand coach decides it will be in the best interests of the team that Ross Taylor is relieved of the job. After all, his record of success as skipper is pretty woeful, despite some pretty good personal form.

The problem, of course, was the way it was handled. It could not have been done any worse.

At 37, Hesson is young for a national coach.

He is prone to mistakes and surely must be afforded some slack for making errors, no matter how monumental. It is not Hesson's fault NZ Cricket is at its lowest point - and that takes some doing.

No, the blame for that falls at the feet of board members Chris Moller, Don Mackinnon, Therese Walsh, John Hansen, Bill Francis, Brent King, Stephen Boock and Stuart Heal.

The board has overseen the mess following the 2007 Cricket World Cup by hiring and firing John Bracewell, Andy Moles, Mark Greatbatch and John Wright as coaches. Hesson, for now, fits in the "still has a job" column.

It has also rubber-stamped the appointments of numerous fly-by-nighters into various "specialist" coaching roles and we've seen no improvement in on-field performance.

Chief executive David White is the latest in a poor bunch at the helm since Martin Snedden walked out the door, and he really messed up Friday's press conference.

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He should have walked in and simply said: "New Zealand Cricket collectively have stuffed up in its handling of Ross Taylor in Sri Lanka. Our coach has made a bad mistake but we will stand by him and try and move on."

The problem for Hesson is he has followed his initial mistake with another one by appointing McCullum, because the perception of the Otago influence is too great.

Kane Williamson should have been handed the captaincy, let the team start afresh and, if McCullum and Taylor could not accept it, then there is the door.

Contrary to popular opinion, Hesson can coach - you only have to read the glowing references he received when he left Otago last year from respected men such as Ross Dykes and Craig Cumming, a couple of gentlemen who know a little bit about the game.

- Taranaki


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