Headmaster Hesson happy with class of 2016-17
Mike Hesson rightly ticked most of the boxes on the report card of his side for the home international cricket season.
‘‘I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but quite a few,’’ the Black Caps coach said following his side’s frustrating finale in the wet in Hamilton on Wednesday.
He did have some exact numbers he was proud of, however.
‘‘We’ve never won more than three test matches in a home summer. We won four test matches this summer and that’s in the history of the game,’’ Hesson said.
‘‘We beat Pakistan who were No 1 when they came over here.
‘‘We had a really nice middle of the summer; we won the ChappellHadlee ... we also challenged probably one of the best touring sides in terms of the test team with South Africa, and I think we matched them, toe for toe, bar one day where they certainly outplayed us in Wellington.
‘‘[I’m] quietly satisfied with the way we’re operating at the moment.’’
New Zealand came agonisingly close to pulling off an upset win in Hamilton that would have levelled the series against South Africa, despite missing Ross Taylor, Trent Boult and Tim Southee through injury. So Hesson ended 2016-17 quite happy with the depth of the international squad, but felt a number of young players still aren’t ready to step up.
‘‘I think you often find you’ve got depth when you have to,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve worked pretty hard to keep a lot of those guys in the
"We'll focus on the toss, and DRS they're our two main areas of concern." Mike Hesson
group. Even though Matt’s [seamer Matt Henry] travelled back and forth to first-class cricket, to keep ready for when we need him. He bowled superbly in this game.
‘‘I think we do have a lot of good young players who ... probably haven’t done enough in terms of selection.
‘‘When we talk about our New Zealand A programme, we’ve got quite a young group, and a group that we were really hoping at the start of this year they would have really forced our hand a little bit. Some are starting to do that towards the back end of the season and that’s certainly pleasing.
‘‘We’ve got some really promising players, but selection is all about timing, and it’s also subjective. It’s about whether we think people are ready to stand up to not only whether they’re scoring runs or taking wickets in firstclass cricket, [but] do they actually have the skills to take on an attack like this?
‘‘[I’m] really pleased the way a number of different players fronted up at key times as well. Henry Nicholls, certainly under a lot of pressure since we returned to New Zealand, his form’s been exceptional; Jeet Raval, obviously introduced for the home summer and he’s certainly made an excellent start.
‘‘The bowling side of things has kept doing the job, no matter who we fronted up with.’’
Hesson light-heartedly dismissed a topic which has plagued his side and many fans all summer - New Zealand’s inability to use the DRS successfully.
‘‘Two main focuses - we’ll focus on the toss, and DRS - they’re our two main areas of concern,’’ he quipped.
‘‘The system’s right. I think, clearly, some of the decisionmaking hasn’t been great.
‘‘Sometimes you take a calculated risk, but sometimes the emotion of, generally, the bowler can sway things a little bit. If you watch most of the test matches around the world, there’s not many that are particularly good at it.
‘‘We’re probably just slightly worse than everybody else.’’
Middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls was under pressure but delivered with a timely century in the second test.
Opening batsman Jeet Raval continues to make an impressive start to his test career.
Pace bowler Matt Henry impressed Mike Hesson in the third test against South Africa.