Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Cricket: Hesson was upfront about captaincy change

Mike Hesson, right, smiles as he talks to player Trent Boult during a cricket practice session in, Sri Lanka. Photo / AP
Mike Hesson, right, smiles as he talks to player Trent Boult during a cricket practice session in, Sri Lanka. Photo / AP

New Zealand cricket coach Mike Hesson has confirmed he told Ross Taylor on the eve of a test match that he wanted a change in captaincy.

Fronting up to the media for the first time after a week of speculation that Taylor was dropped as captain, Hesson confirmed a meeting in Sri Lanka on November 13 where Taylor was told he would be stripped of the captaincy.

It came after a review following the one day series, and four days before the first Test in Galle, and included Hesson, assistant coach Bob Carter, manager Mike Sandle, and Taylor.

"Unfortunately, there's never a good time to deliver news like that,'' he said.

But there was confusion over what forms of the game he meant. He said he regretted if Taylor felt he meant he was questioning his test leadership.

"I didn't mention if it was in one, two, or three forms of the game,'' he said.

On return to New Zealand, he told Taylor he wanted to replace him as ODI and T20 captain. He recommended that Brendon McCullum take over the reigns of the shorter formats and for Taylor to retain the test job.

He said he wanted to tell Taylor of his recommendation to the board before he learned of it elsewhere.

Hesson refuted claims it was a "token gesture'' to placate Taylor, saying test cricket was "not a token gesture''.

Questioned over the timing, he said he wanted to get the meeting "out of the way'', so he could make his recommendations and move forward.

Hesson said split captaincy worked in other countries, and helped share the large workload.

Asked about Taylor's decision not to go to South Africa, he said: "I'm sure Ross has his reason for not coming. It was a difficult decision to have. Ross has clearly been affected by that, as anyone would. We're very disappointed, but understand he's made his decision.''

The last time he'd spoken to Taylor was Monday, he said. He'd tried phoning him since, but not got through to him.

The team would be "worse off'' without him, he admitted.

Hesson said he was well aware of the media storm of this week, saying he's been part of it. But he said he made the decision to try and lift New Zealand from the bottom of the world rankings.

NZC chief executive David White phoned McCullum last night, Hesson said, and offered him the captaincy in all three formats. McCullum accepted the offer.

The decision means that Hesson has exactly what he was trying to avoid _ one captain for all formats.

"It's been a very unfortunate week, and a difficult week ... and not the result anyone wanted.'' he said.

Hesson said he informed his boss, NZC director of cricket John Buchanan, of his recommendations.

Asked if Buchanan, who had recommended Taylor for the captaincy in the first place, supported Hesson's move, he was unsure.

"I'm not exactly sure of his stance. We don't agree on everything,'' he said.

- APNZ

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