Meet Mike Hesson, New Zealand's longest serving cricket coach.

His team has been inundated with plaudits as they keep adding to a New Zealand-record 12-match winning streak in completed games across all formats, culminating in a 5-0 one-day international defeat of Pakistan.

That surpassed two sequences of 10, both achieved within the last three years of a Hesson reign which began in August 2012.

Before the last ODI in Wellington - or any match - Hesson channels quiet confidence. His team has done the preparation and it's time for them to sit the exam.


A purposeful stride takes him to the wicket block. He chats with the ground staff before others queue for a series of handshakes and exchanges of pleasantries.

Soon Hesson escapes to solitude of his tennis racquet and balls that he hits to his charges. He is equally adept at delivering slip catches. It's a fair bet no cricketer in New Zealand is better at finding the edge of their bat.

The idea of a New Zealand team having a coach came into vogue when Glenn Turner took the role in 1985 with the test series win over Australia. Hesson took charge five years and five months ago. The next longest reign was John Bracewell's five years and two months from September 2003 to November 2008.

"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," Hesson said upon his appointment.

He has been as good as his word. This New Zealand era has drawn comparisons with the Richard Hadlee-inspired 1980s.

Hesson's team have played 51 tests, won 20, lost 19 and drawn 12. By generic comparison the 1980s had 59 tests of which 17 were won, 15 lost and 27 drawn.

In completed ODIs, Hesson has overseen 107 for 63 wins, 43 losses and a tie; the 1980s results were 122 played, 56 won and 66 lost.

If the incumbents placed their achievements on a mantelpiece, New Zealand's first World Cup final appearance in 2015, alongside an unprecedented seven successive undefeated test series (2013-2015) and a record-equalling 13 undefeated tests at home (2012-2016) would need dusting every week.* In reality those landmarks are buried in a figurative sock drawer.

The performances of Hesson's side have been coupled with a culture of humility. Nothing appears taken for granted. No sense of entitlement has seeped in.

So how was he able to establish selflessness in a sport where individual statistics are the benchmarks?

"If you talk about wanting to be selfless and then bin players trying to do the right thing by the team when it doesn't work, then you're not really living it are you?" he says.

"As long as people are trying to perform their role, doing the best they can, they'll get more opportunities. Generally we're lucky to have guys who prioritise winning games for their country.

"Sometimes people force old-style statistics down others' throats, but the only fact that matters is 'what have you done to help win a game for your team?'."

Everything bows to sabermetrics in Hesson's world.

"We [he and fellow selector Gavin Larsen] start by asking how we want to play the game and organise players who fit that strategy.

"That's not necessarily the top five run-scorers or wicket-takers. You judge a player on how they perform a role. With T20, someone might have only scored 20-odd runs in three innings, but did it in six balls; or they might've bowled overs in powerplays that only went for six runs when the opposition needed 12 an over.

"When we pick someone, we've done our homework, so you give them a decent run at it rather than being a fad-of-the-month. We want to see someone perform over a period of time, and under pressure."

Hesson cites the example of Colin de Grandhomme developing into the Black Caps' premier pace bowling all-rounder across all formats of the game.

"Colin was considered a journeyman around the first-class scene, but he started making better decisions. He was always a good ball striker, but then he was combining that power with scoring first-class hundreds regularly.

"I think the most important thing he added to our group was his seam bowling. We had a side based on bounce or swing bowlers but came across conditions like South Africa where the opposition seamed the ball more than us. His ability to hit the strings as a good fourth seamer offered balance."

So how has he improved in the role, after a shaky start which included the brunt of a public backlash over the handling of Ross Taylor's demotion as captain, and the horror of what is now known as 'The 45' in Cape Town against the best pace attack in the world?

"I'm more inclusive," Hesson says of the situation.

"I share more than when I started and don't bottle things up as much. I've relaxed more, whether that's intentional or through experience."

Moments of levity help.

New Zealand's batting coach Craig McMillan got into a Twitter debate recently over the dismissal of a South African batsman for obstruction at the under-19 World Cup when he passed a ball back to a West Indian wicketkeeper.

McMillan was on the side of the West Indies.

"The next day, none of our batsmen would pass the ball to him in throwdowns," Hesson grins.

The New Zealand coach has helped add chapters to what has become an outstanding era. A World Cup triumph and more test wins both home and away against Australia, India, South Africa and England would define it as New Zealand's best.

Cricket coaching is what Mike Hesson wanted to do when he left school, and he's realised that ambition; now it's about earning a legacy for the national team.

*John Wright was in charge for the first of those tests against South Africa at Wellington in 2012.