'Mike Hesson almost beat Ravi Shastri to India coach job'

Published: Aug 22, 2019, 17:33 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

New Zealander Mike Hesson who has coached King's XI Punjab in the IPL, had also coached the New Zealand national team to great heights between 2012 to 2018.

Mike Hesson looks on while coaching for New Zealand
Mike Hesson looks on while coaching for New Zealand

The media and cricket fans predicted Ravi Shastri to get an easy extension to his coaching job until 2021, and that was how it panned out when CAC chief Kapil Dev announced Ravi Shastri to retain his role in the Indian team. But now according to a source, it was not so hunky-dory for Ravi Shastri as Kiwi Mike Hesson almost pipped Shastri for the job.

New Zealander Mike Hesson who has coached King's XI Punjab in the IPL, had also coached the New Zealand national team to great heights between 2012 to 2018. The CAC had almost appointed Mike Hesson but switched back to Ravi Shastri just a while before the announcement.

"It was not a walk in the park for Shastri as some of you seem to believe. Hesson was really close to getting the go-ahead. It is there for all to see how the New Zealand team improved by leaps and bounds under him across all formats.

"From being the perennial surprise package in big-ticket events, they had become a champion side under him and that is something that really impressed the CAC.

"Under his coaching, the Kiwis reached their first-ever World Cup final in 2015. While he did resign in 2018, the Kiwis playing their second final on the trot in 2019 also had a lot to do with what Hesson brought to the table. His strategizing with the senior members in the team can't be discounted," the functionary explained.

Asked what then turned the table back in Shastri's favour, considering that the CAC made it clear that skipper Virat Kohli wasn't consulted before taking the call, the functionary said it was Shastri's experience as a player on the international stage.

"The CAC felt that Shastri's proven record as a player was one area that needed to be give due recognition as one's own stature might become an area of concern when handling a team which has big names.

"Hesson hadn't played enough cricket himself and as we know started coaching in his early twenties. Shastri on the other hand played 80 Test matches and 150 ODIs. That is something that went against the Kiwi," the functionary said.

However the functionary refused to divulge if the experience of having M.S.K. Prasad as the chief selector and his inability to stand tall and take decisions was used as point of reference by the CAC when making the call. "That only then can tell you," the functionary said.

Interestingly, the national selectors led by Prasad are expected to announce the names of the support staff on Thursday. The CAC had expressed its desire to be a part of this as well, but the BCCI constitution doesn't allow it.

With inputs from IANS

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