Wellington: Mike Hesson was appointed head coach of the New Zealand team on Friday, replacing John Wright who will leave the role next month. New Zealand-born Hesson coached Otago province for six years before a short stint as Kenya coach. He left that role earlier this year, citing security fears after his family was victims of an attempted carjacking. His contract runs through the 2015 ICC World Cup jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The shortlist for the position reportedly included Hesson and Australians Trent Woodhill, currently an assistant to Wright, and Matthew Mott. Candidates were interviewed twice by a panel comprising Buchanan, New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White, board member Rob Hart, former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and Alex Baumann of High Performance Sport New Zealand.
"We were impressed with the way Mike presented himself and he was the stand-out applicant from a strong field of candidates," said New Zealand's director of cricket and former Australia coach John Buchanan. "Mike has been a successful first-class coach with the Otago team in recent years and has also had valuable experience working with New Zealand A sides. He will bring freshness and new energy to the side and we know he is more than capable of developing and growing the team as we work towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015," Buchanan said.
Hesson said it was "an honour and a privilege" to coach New Zealand. "Having the opportunity to coach the Black Caps is very special for me," he said. "I am passionate about cricket in New Zealand and doing the best job I can for the players and the fans of cricket in this country. My coaching philosophy is essentially built around setting world-class standards to produce excellence and that's what I intend to do with the Black Caps," he added. "It's a big challenge but one I'm ready for and excited about."
Former New Zealand Test batsman Wright, who has coached New Zealand for 18 months, steps down at the end of New Zealand's Test series against the West Indies in the Caribbean next month. Hesson will first lead the team on its subsequent tour to India.
Wright said he is leaving to pursue other opportunities, but he has also hinted at differences with Buchanan and his academic approach to coaching. Buchanan's appointment and the subsequent choice of Australian lawn bowls official Kim Littlejohn as national selection manger was seen to have weakened the coach's role in the selection of national teams.