Head­mas­ter Hes­son happy with class of 2016-17

The Dominion Post - - Sport - IAN ANDERSON

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.

PHO­TOS: PHOTOSPORT

Pace bowler Matt Henry im­pressed Mike Hes­son in the third test against South Africa.

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