Mike Hesson keen to blood youngsters on South Africa tour
Mike Hesson - "If we are looking ahead to four years' time and the next World Cup, this is the perfect opportunity to start that development"
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has two main objectives for the team's upcoming tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa - to win both the ODI series, and ensure his players evolve into "solid international cricketers".
Speaking ahead of New Zealand's departure for Africa, Hesson admitted that New Zealand were still hurting from their 2-3 series defeat to England last month, but said the team's young talents will be "better off" from the experience.
"There were a couple of times when we had the game by the scruff of the neck and we let that slip," Hesson said. "We were very disappointed with that. We also exposed some young guys at key times and they will be better off for that. In this group we have guys like George Worker and Ben Wheeler who are trying to make their way in international cricket.
"If we are looking ahead to four years' time and the next World Cup, this is the perfect opportunity to start that development. Two years ago we did the same with Corey Anderson, James Neesham and Mitch McClenaghan on their first tour."
With regular captain Brendon McCullum rested for the tour, Hesson felt the series offered Kane Williamson a great opportunity to display his mettle and leadership skills.
"We can only make our judgement based on history and last year in the UAE, Kane scored a huge amount of runs and he evolved as a leader throughout the tour. This is another opportunity to continue his development.
"Brendon and Kane are different characters, but Kane is a senior player that has a say in the way we play the game. We don't all revolve around one person. Brendon obviously makes all of the decisions on the field but there are a number of players who play a part in that."
In addition to McCullum, New Zealand will also be without their frontline seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult for the tour. In their absence, Hesson called for the likes of Mitchell McClenaghan, George Worker and Adam Milne, who had been sidelined since March with a heel injury, to step up.
"Mitch is a senior player on this tour. He had a very good tour here last time, it was his first one and they didn't know a lot about him," Hesson said. "He has got some confidence from the county scene recently and I know he is really keen to get over there.
"Anyone who bowls at 150km per hour puts a lot of stress on the body and is going to struggle to stay on the park all the time. We accept that and that is what we want to see from Adam. He has had some tough times with an injury that has lingered but he is feeling good. The key for us is to not go too hard too soon with him.
"Everyone matures a little differently whether that be from a cricket point of view or a life point of view. Some guys peak early and then need a break. George has done the hard yards and deserves his opportunity through performance."
New Zealand are scheduled to play three ODIs and one T20I in Zimbabwe starting August 2, and three ODIs and two T20Is in South Africa.