Straight into firing line for Black Caps coach

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 10/08/2012
Mike Hesson
Photosport
TOUGH START FOR HESSON: The Black Caps have just come off a series against the West Indies in which they were thoroughly outplayed.

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How much can a coach achieve in a week? New Black Caps boss Mike Hesson is about to find out.

He and the New Zealand team he inherited on Monday fly out to India in seven days time.

By the following Thursday they'll be playing a test match in Hyderabad.

"It's a difficult thing. When you start a role, ideally, you have a decent buildup and time to work with the group, but that's not the way of the current environment," Hesson said yesterday.

"We've got four or five days in India to try and identify some key areas that we need to improve on and we may as well start now."

The Black Caps have just come off a series against the West Indies in which they were thoroughly outplayed across the Twenty20, one-day and test formats. Runs were hard to come by and deficiencies against spin bowling cruelly exposed.

Unfortunately, India possess batsmen who score runs by the bucketload at home and a procession of slow bowlers to more than match anything that the Windies' Sunil Narine sent the Black Caps' way in the Caribbean.

What will be different with Hesson holding the clipboard is going to be the main curiosity of the two-test and two-Twenty20 match tour.

"I guess that's a bit of a wait and see," he said.

"But I'd like to think it will [be different]. I don't really want to identify them [the areas] too much, because I want to talk with the playing group.

"But ownership, for me, is a huge thing and players do thrive on responsibility and I'm looking forward to giving them some of that and to see how far they can take it."

John Wright, in his last press conference as New Zealand coach earlier this week, questioned whether the team's batsmen possessed the traits Hesson is talking about. In fact, he basically accused them of not taking any responsibility for their failings at all.

Hesson watched the series against the West Indies and described himself as "obviously hugely disappointed, along with everybody else".

"Just with the lack of consistency we've been able to get. Everyone's aware of it, it's just a matter of trying to put some mechanisms in place so that we can be a little more consistent," Hesson said.

He conceded that New Zealand batsmen don't play spin bowling well and wouldn't be able to learn how to in a hurry. "At the moment there's probably a little bit of doubt there and when you have doubt when you bat, you create a lot of issues for yourself."

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He's got his fingers crossed that a couple of different voices, and the recycled James Franklin, might bring the clarity and trust he says is missing from the team's batting plan.

Aside from Hesson's own introduction, former Wellington and Northamptonshire coach Bob Carter has been added to the coaching staff, replacing the out-of-contract Trent Woodhill.

Carter was an assistant during John Bracewell's reign as New Zealand head coach, before spending the past four years running the Canterbury team.

"He's got great respect throughout the country, he knows the players well and he's got really good values and a really good skill-set, so I think we complement each other well," Hesson said of Carter.

Carter's appointment as batting coach meant there would be no role for Wellington's Jamie Siddons, Hesson said.

Siddons had previously indicated that New Zealand Cricket wanted him involved in their one-day programme.

Then there's the enigma that is Franklin. "James is a quality player who, and I'm sure he'd be the first to admit, hasn't quite grabbed his opportunities. But I'm certainly looking forward to him doing that on this tour . . . and within the support staff structure we've got, we'll come up with ways of working with James."

- The Dominion Post

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