New Zealand coach Mike Hesson. Getty Images
Mike Hesson, 43-year-old head coach of New Zealand, has announced he will step down at the end of July after six years in charge.
The announcement was made by Hesson and New Zealand Cricket at a press conference on Thursday afternoon in Auckland. A New Zealand Cricket media release stated that Hesson has not been recruited to take another coaching position elsewhere but instead is taking "a break from the rigours of international cricket, and to spend more time with his wife and children."
Hesson's contract was due to run through the end of the 2019 World Cup. NZC chief executive David White said he had attempted to persuade Hesson to see out the final 12 months of his contract to carry the team through to their appearance at next year's World Cup in England and Wales but understood Hesson's decision.
"This job requires 100 percent commitment and is all consuming," Hesson said. "I know what's required over the next 12 months, but if I'm honest, I don't feel I have the capacity to give the job what it deserves. NZC, in particular David White and the board, have given me incredible support, including flexibility and options. But the idea of missing a match, a tour or a format, as has been proposed at different times, has never sat well with me."
The timing of Hesson's announcement gives NZC a bit of breathing room to start a recruitment process since their next international assignment is not until October when they are due to tour the UAE for a series against Pakistan.
Hesson's tenure got off to a bumpy start during his first year in charge. A proposal to have separate captains for the Test and limited overs sides resulted in Ross Taylor, who had been leading New Zealand since 2011, resigning before making himself unavailable for the tour to South Africa at the end of 2012. Brendon McCullum then took over from Taylor with Taylor eventually returning to play a few months later when England toured in February 2013.
The McCullum-Hesson partnership and subsequent captaincy of Kane Williamson have been some of the most successful years in New Zealand cricket history. Perhaps most memorable was that New Zealand broke a World Cup semi-final curse to reach their first ever World Cup final in 2015 before losing to Australia at the MCG.
Hesson ends with a winning record in all three formats as coach of New Zealand, tallying 21 wins, 13 draws and 19 losses in Tests. In ODIs, New Zealand had a 65-46 record with eight ties or no results in 119 matches while in Twenty20 cricket New Zealand went 30-24 with five ties or no results.
"We remember the 2015 World Cup as a great time for New Zealand and Mike should be recognised for the huge part he played in that," said McCullum. "His meticulous planning and eye for detail gave us our best chance of success and he can be proud of what he helped the team achieve. Personally, I regard him as the best coach the Blackcaps have ever had."