‘Regret the fallout from it’: Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson recalls toughest time of his coaching career
Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has conceded that the axing of Ross Taylor as captain in 2012 needed better handling but he has “no regrets” over the controversial call, which was the “toughest time” of his career.
Taylor stepped down from captaincy in all formats in 2012 after being asked to hand over the limited overs reigns to Brendon McCullum by Hesson, leading to quite a furore.”It was definitely the toughest time of my coaching career,” Hesson was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz on Sky Sports’ ‘The Pod’.
“I keep going back to the reasons why I coach and many times I ask myself at night – am I making the decision for the right reasons …. because I think it’s going to make the team better?” he added.
The 45-year-old, who currently serves as IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Director of Cricket Operations, admitted he could have handled the entire incident better.
“It was a really untidy time. But I don’t regret the decision, (though) I certainly regret the fallout from it and the way people felt throughout it.”
He said there were elements within the team who were trying to play both sides.
“I have a lot of empathy for what Ross went through and it was a really difficult time for the whole team. And we also had people within the environment being a little bit snakey around it as well in terms of trying to play both sides,” he revealed.
“I still think it was the right decision. Could it have been done better? Of course it could have.” Hesson, under whom New Zealand reached the final of the ODI World Cup in 2015, also revealed he received a lot of hate from the public for his decision.
“I had hate mail pout in the door. I had faeces put on my front door at my house. It was a pretty horrible time and all I was trying to do was what I thought was right for the cricket team at the time,” he said.
“There were a number of people who didn’t know many facts, who didn’t know either Ross or myself, who were very opinionated about things … It was what I felt we needed to do to move the team forward.”
He said the announcement of the decision came at the wrong time as the team was coming off a win over Sri Lanka in which Taylor had “played like a genius”.
Under McCullum, the Black Caps achieved a lot of success in all forms of the games including a successful 2015 World Cup campaign where they were the runners-up.
“We saw him as a cool, calm head … he certainly wouldn’t let the game drift and would be quite proactive in terms of his approach. He was also able to get that ‘follow-me’ mentality,” Hesson said.
“I thought he was the only person at the time that could have done that with the group of players we had,” he added.
Hesson, who quit the New Zealand coaching job in 2018, stated the decision to step down was guided by his desire to spend more time with his wife and children.
“It was far from easy. I had a really supportive wife who was very understanding and I had two young kids and had come to a point in time where you have to go ‘enough is enough, they’ve sacrificed enough’.
“I’d run out of gas and certainly my family felt I should be at home more – and rightfully so.”