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Hesson opens up on the ‘horrible’ backlash that followed Ross Taylor’s sacking

Taylor McCullum
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has opened up about the horrible backlash that followed his controversial decision to remove Ross Taylor from the Blackcaps captaincy in 2012, conceding he has no regrets despite the “untidy time” that immediately followed.

Hesson, who coached the Black Caps until 2018, asked Taylor to step down as skipper, nominating Brendon McCullum for the role instead. In March this year, McCullum called the fallout with Taylor a “bad stain on New Zealand cricket”, admitting that it put a strain on their long-standing friendship.

However, it wasn’t just the fractured relationship between McCullum and Taylor that emerged from the captaincy turmoil.

“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? 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.”

“I had hate mail pour 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.”

While McCullum’s appointment eventually worked out well for New Zealand, who reached the final of the 2015 World Cup, Hesson admitted that, in hindsight, the situation could have been handled better.

“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. I still think it was the right decision. Could it have been done better? Of course, it could have.”

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