Tag Archives: attributes

County Championship 2013: Nick Compton"s rise highlights importance of domestic circuit

County cricket is back! And if you're in any doubt how relevant it is, just ask Compton

By
Richard Gibson

PUBLISHED:

22:26 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 10 April 2013

Anyone wondering whether the County Championship retains its relevance within the framework of 21st-century cricket ought to pose the question to Nick Compton.

In an age when Twenty20 offers the quickest route to fame and fortune, Compton took the sleepy backroads around the shires with Somerset to reach the international fast lane.

Perhaps held back in his early career by lugging a famous surname around, the 29-year-old has flourished since moving to Taunton in 2010.

Driving seat: Nick Compton hit back-to-back centuries in New Zealand to all but secure his Ashes spot

Driving seat: Nick Compton hit back-to-back centuries in New Zealand to all but secure his Ashes spot

Prolific: Compton averaged 99.25 last season

Prolific: Compton averaged 99.25 last season

Last season he achieved a Bradman-esque
County Championship average of 99.25 and, two Test hundreds in New
Zealand later, he holds an England place three months shy of the Ashes.

‘The County Championship provides the route to the England team and it is really important that message is projected.

'Compton is a fine example of someone who was banging out big runs to a degree where we could no longer not pick him,’ acknowledged England limited-overs coach Ashley Giles as county sides prepare for Wednesday's opening games of the Championship season.

‘In the end he selected himself by the sheer weight of numbers he was stacking up and that has to be a boost for all county cricketers out there.

'From my experience with Warwickshire, he was by far the stand-out guy we played against; by virtue of the fact you actually had to get him out.

'He exhibited the skills you look for in a top player as well. You can’t just do it by getting runs, you have to display the mental and physical attributes to play Test cricket.’

Mark Butcher, a predecessor of Compton’s as an England Test opener, added: ‘Compo’s thing is that he was not picked on the basis of one glorious summer. He has done it year in, year out and that as much as anything is the lesson for others.’

Recognition: England coach Ashley Giles believes Compton selected himself after his prolific run-scoring

Recognition: England coach Ashley Giles believes Compton selected himself after his prolific run-scoring

Championship cricket, with its
unrelenting schedule, remains the best gauge of a player’s credentials,
according to Giles, the director of cricket who guided Warwickshire to
the title last September.

‘Over
the course of a long season, take away all the variables of weather,
injuries to a degree, and it is the best signal of who is the best
cricket team in the land,' he said.

On Wednesday morning, the Championship
pennant will be hoisted on the pavilion at Edgbaston for the champions’
opening fixture against Derbyshire. But who does Giles view as the most
likely challengers this year

Champions: Warwickshire will begin their Division One defence on Wednesday against Derbyshire

Champions: Warwickshire will begin their Division One defence on Wednesday against Derbyshire

Addition: Middlesex have been strengthened by the signing of James Harris (left)

Addition: Middlesex have been strengthened by the signing of James Harris (left)

‘I think Middlesex will be a dangerous side,’ he said. ‘When we sat back at the end of last season and reflected, we felt they were the most similar side to us in how they played their cricket. If they had nudged us a bit harder last year I reckon they could have beaten us but they were quite tentative.’

Former Surrey batsman Butcher, meanwhile, said: ‘I will be keeping an eye on Yorkshire because they are a very talented group. They have some young guys in there so to go all the way might be beyond them because of that youth.

‘To me it’s no surprise that Warwickshire got into positions to win things over the past couple of years because of the average age of their team. They are a mature team, not an old team.'

Cups run over: All the trophies that will be played for this summer, and the Ashes in the middle

Cups run over: All the trophies that will be played for this summer, and the Ashes in the middle

Ashley Giles and Mark Butcher were talking ahead of this year’s LV= County Catch-up – A monthly online programme featuring news, player interviews and behind the scenes insight from the LV= County Championship circuit.

Martin O"Neill waits on Steven Fletcher fitness

O'Neill faces anxious wait on fitness of top goalscorer Fletcher for Chelsea visit

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 7 December 2012

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill is sweating on top scorer Steven Fletcher being fit to face Chelsea on Saturday.

The Scotland international has been unable to train this week due to the ankle injury which forced him to miss the much improved second half performance at Norwich City last Sunday.

Fletcher, who has scored six goals since his 10million summer switch from Wolves, has seen a specialist in London, had a painkilling injection in his ankle and will have a late fitness test before the clash at the Stadium of Light.

Sweating: Steven Fletcher could be fit to face Chelsea

Sweating: Steven Fletcher could be fit to face Chelsea

Manager Martin O'Neill, who has confirmed skipper Lee Cattermole is out for at least two months after knee surgery, says Fletcher has a 50/50 chance of facing the European champions.

Defender John O'Shea, who has missed two games with a calf problem, could also return.

England Under 21 striker Connor Wickham, who made a rare and promising appearance at Carrow Road, is on stand-by to make his first start of the season.

O'Neill said: `Fletcher went down to see the specialist but he hasn't done anything yet in training so that's all I can tell you at the moment.

'We're doing a lot of work with Connor and the young players after training but the biggest thing for Connor is that he wants to do it and he wants to improve.

'He has the physique and natural attributes so it's really up to him.

'Don't start reading everything into a 45 minute performance. I thought he did really well in the Norwich game and he wants to show more aggression.

No chance: Lee Cattermole has been ruled out for at least two months

No chance: Lee Cattermole has been ruled out for at least two months

'Now's the time for him to start performing and getting something out of these games not just letting the minutes on the field pass him by.

'I've been here exactly a year and Connor played in my first game because Bendtner wasn't available.

'He came in and played in the next game and came off injured against Tottenham so he's found his career standing still, certainly at club level, but he's addressing it and that's the most important thing.'

Alan Pardew on Demba Ba: His faith makes him perfect professional

Alan Pardew: Brilliant Ba's faith makes him the perfect pro

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 2 November 2012

Signing Demba Ba in the summer of 2011 was a complete no-brainer for me and Newcastle United.

I still have contacts at West Ham, friends throughout the club who told me all about Demba. After watching his performances for West Ham, I was convinced he had the right attitude and characteristics. More importantly, he was a player who would score goals at this club.

One of the things I wanted to check out was his injuries. I had heard the rumours, and there was the failed medical at Stoke, but he trained every day at West Ham and they didn’t perceive it would be an issue.

Loving life: Alan Pardew enjoys working with Demba Ba

Loving life: Alan Pardew enjoys working with Demba Ba

Other than the fact there is a picture of his knee which doesn’t look very well, I wasn’t bothered. I’ve not even seen the picture. That’s not to say that at some time in his career it won’t have an effect on him, but he has trained every day with us, too. That is all I need to know.

As a man and a footballer he is strong, clear management material and a leader who tells you how it is. I like all of those attributes in a player.

He is a big leader in the dressing room and I want him here for years, to take the club forward.

Demba is one of a number of Muslim players at Newcastle United. We have as many as eight, and it is a very important part of our club.

Some don’t portray it openly, some do, and Demba is a strong believer who follows the traditions, perhaps more than others, and I respect that.

Their lifestyle makes for great professional footballers because they don’t drink, they live correctly and are absolutely perfect ambassadors for their religion. It is nice to listen to their opinions, too.

There are players who aren’t religious who live just as well. But this group’s focus on their life, career, profession and success is very important to them, and it is not just about how they live, eat, sleep or conduct their lives.

Perfect: Pardew hailed Ba's determination and professionalism

Perfect: Pardew hailed Ba's determination and professionalism

We have thought about building a prayer room for all faiths within St James’ Park which can be used on match days. It is right and we are still trying to nail a place down within the stadium and are investigating the issue to make sure we get it right.

Demba has shown great determination to get where he is today and I see that every day. I see it in negotiations with him. I think he has been hurt by the whole process and he wants to prove to people he is a top player.

I would like to think we have helped him do that at Newcastle United. We are one of the first clubs to offer him security. We all want Demba to stay at Newcastle and we’re working on trying to secure his future at the club.

Hal-Robson Kanu relishing Arsenal reunion

Robson-Kanu relishing Arsenal reunion after winging his way back to the top with Reading

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UPDATED:

17:56 GMT, 30 October 2012

It's 2004, and a small but skilful teenage winger is being told by Arsenal, his boyhood team, that he is not strong enough or fast enough to progress further at the club.

The 15-year-old is told he can stay for one more season, but his chances of playing will be limited.

Undeterred, the headstrong lad leaves and starts a remarkable eight-year journey that will culminate on Tuesday night when he comes up against the club that let him go.

Bring it on: Reading's Hal Robson-Kanu (right) is looking forward to facing Arsenal

Bring it on: Reading's Hal Robson-Kanu (right) is looking forward to facing Arsenal

The tale of Hal Robson-Kanu, Reading's 23-year-old winger, whose last-gasp equaliser rescued a point against Fulham on Saturday, is cautionary and inspiring.

It includes two serious cruciate ligament injuries, loan spells in League One and an eventual rise to Premier League and international football.

As Robson-Kanu says: 'Some people can't believe how far I've come and how quickly.'

To fully appreciate his journey, first we must rewind to his Arsenal days.

Robson-Kanu grew up in west London and joined the club as a 10-year-old.

Jay Simpson, now of Hull, was in his age group while Fabrice Muamba, formerly of Bolton, and Matthew Connolly, now of Cardiff, were a year ahead.

In the younger ranks were Emmanuel Frimpong and a certain Jack Wilshere.

'It was brilliant to be part of that,' reflects Robson-Kanu. 'But I was one of the smallest players in the squad. I wasn't fast enough, strong enough or big enough.

Bulking up: Arsenal reckoned Robson-Kanu was too small to make it

Bulking up: Arsenal reckoned Robson-Kanu was too small to make it

'Arsenal said they knew I had the quality to be a football player and were happy for me to stay another year till I was 16, but because of my size and physical attributes they said if another club wanted to take me then they would let me go.'

It's a message that countless young, technically gifted footballers have heard over the decades.

Many have fallen by the wayside, but fortunately for Robson-Kanu he had caught the eye of a progressive young manager who saw past his physical deficiencies.

'Brendan Rodgers was the academy manager at Reading and he liked what he had seen of me,' says Robson-Kanu.

'He told me I would progress through the ranks and become a first-team player and I liked what he had to say.

'A few other clubs came in for me but I chose Reading and haven't looked back since.'

His development, however, was twice checked by serious injury.

National service: Robson-Kanu is a Wales international

National service: Robson-Kanu is a Wales international

'I was out for nearly three years. I was 16 when I did my cruciate ligament for the first time in a youth game and then 17-and-a-half when it happened again,' says Robson-Kanu.

'It was a tough period and anyone who has been through that kind of thing knows how hard you have to work to get back to the level you were at before and in my case to an even better level.'

Comeback and improve he did. Loan spells at Swindon and Southend provided valuable first-team experience and caps at England Under 19 and 20 level followed.

And by the end of the 2009-2010 season, half a decade after he had left Arsenal, Robson-Kanu had established himself in the Reading first team and made his senior Wales debut, having switched allegiances from England.

As he prepares to face Arsenal for the first time as a professional, he feels no bitterness or resentment.

'It is a fantastic club with a fantastic ethos. It was a great grounding and we had some great coaches – Neil Banfield (now first-team coach), Steve Bould (now assistant manager) and Dermot Drummy (now Chelsea reserve manager),' he says.

'They've changed their policy now and don't let players go at that age without giving them a proper chance to grow and develop.

'Within two years of leaving Arsenal I had grown upwards and outwards and got stronger and faster.

'We played Arsenal in a youth team game a few years after I had left and their coaches, Steve Bould and Liam Brady, couldn't believe it when they saw me again. They came over afterwards and were shocked at the size of me.'

On Tuesday, Robson-Kanu, all 6ft 1in and 85kg of him, will be hoping to shock his old club once again.

Jack Wilshere targeting Arsenal and England partnership with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Wilshere excited by partnership with Oxlade-Chamberlain for club and country

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UPDATED:

11:14 GMT, 29 October 2012

Jack's back: Arsenal welcomed Jack Wilshere into the side for the first time in 15 months

Jack's back: Arsenal welcomed Jack Wilshere into the side for the first time in 15 months

Jack Wilshere has targeted a golden combination with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for club and country after the midfielder made his first appearance in more than a year.

The 20-year-old has been sidelined with knee and ankle injuries for 15 months, during which time Oxlade-Chamberlain has become the latest great hope for English football.

The pair are yet play together after the former Southampton man suffered a hip injury earlier this month.

However, Wilshere revealed his excitement at the prospect of teaming up with the fleet-footed wideman in the coming weeks.

He said: 'If we can get playing together for Arsenal then hopefully we can take it onto the international stage and it’ll be great for both club and country.

'I think that Alex is already mature enough to step in at any level. You could see that at the Euros – he was just 18 but it was like he was meant to be there.

'That confidence is one of his main attributes, and I think that the boss at Arsenal has been really good for him.'

England have a friendly with Sweden in Gothenburg on November 14, and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has asked Roy Hodgson to overlook Wilshere while he gets back up to speed.

'It is a friendly. Jack should skip that,' said Wenger. 'What is important now is that he gets back to full fitness for this team. Once he is back he will play for England again, but if it is a friendly….'

He added: 'I will have a little word [with Hodgson], of course. Anyway, Roy will call me about him.

Moving forward: Wilshere now hopes to team up with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Moving forward: Wilshere now hopes to team up with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Moving forward: Wilshere now hopes to team up with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

'I am an understanding manager. If it is a
friendly, a full game would be too much at the moment. I will speak
about it with Roy, but what is important now is that he gets back to his
level.'

Wilshere's return to action for the
Gunners was an unfamiliar experience, playing alongside just four
players with whom he'd previously featured.

The
midfielder believes there is certainly increased competition in the
ranks now – despite some big name departures – especially in his
preferred position. Strength in depth, though, is important.

'I think you can see that there's great competition now throughout midfield,' Wilshere added. 'That's what players need – if you’re guaranteed a place every week maybe you can just go easy, but with the competition we have at Arsenal in midfield I think it’s good for everybody.

Among those forming a new look midfield is Santi Cazorla.

'I think you can see already that we're all gelling,' Wilshere said. 'A couple of months ago none of the new boys even knew each other or the rest of the squad, but I think good players just fit in.

'For example with Cazorla, you can tell he’s just a natural footballer so he fits right in.'

The Spaniard has already scored twice in the Premier League since his move from Malaga this summer. Wilshere hopes he too can add goals to his game.

He said: 'I'm always looking to improve every aspect of my game. Before I got injured, I wasn’t getting forward enough and didn’t score enough goals, so that’ll be something I’m looking to do this year and I’ll hopefully get a few more for the team.

Goal time: Santi Cazorla has already scored twice in his short Arsenal career

Goal time: Santi Cazorla has already scored twice in his short Arsenal career

Wilshere completed just over an hour on
his comeback to the first-team – against QPR – and will be rested for
Tuesday's League Cup match with Reading.

But with the games coming thick and fast, it is expected that the talented 20-year-old will play a key role over a busy autumn and winter period, weather conditions he has no problem adapting too.

'I think in England you have to like the wind and rain because you get every type of weather from January all year round really.

'We all know the wind and rain is part and parcel of football and if you don’t like that then you can’t play over here.

'Players have to adapt quickly when they come to England. You find that the foreign players that do well here are the ones that adapt best to the conditions.

'I think it gives us an advantage in the Champions League too, when teams come over and the weather’s not good, the English lads are used to it.'

Danny Welbeck has edge over Jermain Defoe for England clash in Poland

Roy to choose between Welbeck and Defoe … and Rooney's United pal has the edge

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 14 October 2012

On paper the choice between Danny Welbeck and Jermain Defoe for Tuesday's encounter in Poland looks like a difficult one for Roy Hodgson.

When the England manager considers Welbeck he will no doubt note the four goals that make him the highest scorer of his 10-game reign, with two of them in Friday’s victory over San Marino. Then he might take into account the 10 goals Welbeck has scored in 45 league appearances for Manchester United, and the fact that he has developed a useful understanding with Wayne Rooney.

There is also a compelling argument for Defoe. Two goals for England, one of which came against Italy, and four for Tottenham underline how sharp he is looking this season. Since returning to White Hart Lane in January 2009, he has struck 40 times in 96 league games. No mean return.

Talented: Danny Welbeck has the potential to be a top international striker

Talented: Danny Welbeck has the potential to be a top international striker

Welbeck has not scored for United this season and the arrival of Robin van Persie has made it that much more difficult for the 21-year-old to make an impact. Hodgson mentioned as much at Wembley on Friday night.

But if he also values the potential to become a top-class international striker who could make an impact for England at the next World Cup, the decision surely becomes a bit easier.

There was a reason why Sir Alex Ferguson predicted as early as he did that Welbeck would become a senior England international. Welbeck has real talent, and all the necessary attributes to become an established member of the national side.

It is not just the relationship he has developed with Rooney at Old Trafford. He ticks all the physical boxes with his pace, strength, height and agility, and a degree of skill that sets him apart from every other contender for the place alongside Rooney.

Tom Cleverley has grown up with Welbeck too, a product of the same United academy. ‘Danny’s top class,’ said Cleverley at the England hotel on Sunday. ‘His movement, which he’s always working on, his touch, his finishing, pace, power. He’s got everything to be a top-class striker.

Time to shine: Jermain Defoe (left) will hope to have impressed in training

Time to shine: Jermain Defoe (left) will hope to have impressed in training

‘We’ve got a great strikeforce for England and he’s part of that.’

Hodgson does have options. As well as Welbeck and Defoe there is Andy Carroll. There is Darren Bent too, if he can resolve his apparent differences with Paul Lambert, or move from Aston Villa and perform as he did at Sunderland.

But Welbeck is the star turn and it will be interesting to see if Hodgson agrees or returns to a striker who will be nearly 32 come Brazil.

Defoe is a decent player and more than worthy of a place in the squad. He has commanded transfer fees in excess of 30million during his career and in more recent years he has stepped out from the shadow of Michael Owen.

At club level he has sometimes struggled to remain in favour with his managers, even if it was Juande Ramos who sold him to Portsmouth before Harry Redknapp lured him back to north London.

As Gary Neville has said, Welbeck needs to score more. But goals will come when he is in the team, such is the threat England possess when he’s alongside Rooney.

After Friday’s game Hodgson said: ‘Danny wasn’t on everyone’s lips when I took him to the Euros. Since then I think he has had to fight very hard to get a place in the Manchester United team because the competition is so great. But he is improving all the time.’

Tried and tested: Wayne Rooney's club partnership with Welbeck is a bonus

Tried and tested: Wayne Rooney's club partnership with Welbeck is a bonus

He is young but he is also gifted; bright too. Bright enough to learn and bright enough to understand what it takes to fulfil his potential. ‘I’m used to playing with Wazza (Rooney) up front at United and I’m really relishing the chance to play with him for England,’ said Welbeck.

‘Once we get into positions in and around the box, we know different styles of combinations to play.’

From his vantage point in central midfield, Michael Carrick can see what Welbeck brings to a side when he partners Rooney.

‘I am a massive fan of Danny,’ he said. ‘I am probably a bit biased because of the United connection, but ever since I have seen him I have been a huge fan and I expect big things of him.

‘He has had a terrific couple of years now. People were looking at him when we signed Van Persie saying, “Where is his position, where is he going to fit in”

Good memories: Defoe scores for England in Poland back in 2004

Good memories: Defoe scores for England in Poland back in 2004

‘But he has shown he is still a major part of it and he was terrific again against San Marino.

‘He is talented. He can create and score goals. He can play different positions. He is modest too, what you’d expect coming through the ranks at United.

‘The manager sets standards for the young lads and Danny doesn’t get carried away. He works hard. That is one of his biggest assets.’

So many assets. Hodgson surely can’t ignore him.

fronting up

Another Hazard for defences as Eden"s nurturer says 16-year-old Kylian can be a world-beater

Another Hazard for defences as Eden's nurturer says 16-year-old Kylian can be a world-beater

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UPDATED:

21:12 GMT, 13 September 2012

Eden Hazard has a brother who is even more talented — and it is not 19-year-old Thorgan, who has joined him at Chelsea.

It is 16-year-old Kylian who could yet turn out to be the star turn among the Hazard boys.

Star in the making: Kylian Hazard (second left) is tipped for big things

Star in the making: Kylian Hazard (second left) is tipped for big things

Fathi Ennabli, youth co-ordinator at Tubize, insists Kylian could scale greater heights, with just one reservation.

‘Kylian has the same natural attributes as Eden and is every bit as good, if not better,’ he said.

An eye for talent: Fathi Ennabli of AFC Tubize says there is a new Hazard on the horizon

An eye for talent: Fathi Ennabli of AFC Tubize says there is a new Hazard on the horizon

Oh brother: Thorgan has joined Essevee on loan from Chelsea

Oh brother: Thorgan has joined Essevee on loan from Chelsea

‘He has the same explosive pace that
takes him past players, and he can turn a game with something no-one
else could do. But there was always a problem with his attitude. He had
no concept of discipline or applying himself.

‘There was one youth game here where, midway through the second half, the coach realised he was a player short.

‘It was Kylian, and he had just wandered off. We found him sitting in a tree, and when we asked why, he just shrugged his shoulders and said he was fed up of playing.

‘He is at Lille’s academy at the moment and I hear there are signs of improvement. But he’s not there yet. If he doesn’t mend his ways it’s going to be a huge waste.’

Move over Moses, Kone the Ivorian tank has arrived at Wigan

Move over Moses, Kone the Ivorian tank has arrived at Wigan

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UPDATED:

21:10 GMT, 26 August 2012

Arouna Kone: built to last

Arouna Kone: built to last

Arouna Kone proved on Saturday there can be life after Victor Moses for Wigan. The Ivorian scored on his full debut as Roberto Martinez saw his side get their season up and running with a 2-0 win over Southampton at St Mary's. SAMI MOKBEL runs the rule over Kone.

Strength

At 6ft and built like a tank, Kone has the attributes to cope with the physical demands. He singlehandedly kept Southampton centre backs Jos Hooiveld and Jose Fonte occupied for 90 minutes.

Pace

Quick! He caused the entire Saints rearguard problems and once he got away for Wigan's second there was no catching him.

Movement

Kone worked Saints' back four well, cropping up in different areas of the attacking third.

Finishing

Took his 88th minute strike with unerring accuracy, drilled in low to Kelvin Davis's right.

Awareness

'He holds the ball up well and sees a pass,' said Martinez.

He certainly does. The way he protected the ball before bringing midfield runners into play was excellent against Nigel Adkins's side.

Impressive: Kone seals Wigan win

Impressive: Kone seals Wigan win

New Zealand name Mike Hesson as new cricket coach

New Zealand name Hesson as new cricket coach after Wright stands down

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UPDATED:

07:50 GMT, 20 July 2012

Former Otago and Kenya coach Mike Hesson has been appointed New Zealand coach on a deal which runs until the end of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

The withdrawal of Matthew Mott from consideration left Hesson the last man standing for the job of succeeding John Wright, who announced in May that he would not be extending his contract.

The 37-year-old Hesson feels privileged to have been handed the role.

New man in charge: Mike Hesson takes over the New Zealand cricket team

New man in charge: Mike Hesson takes over the New Zealand cricket team

'I'm a proud Kiwi and very much a true believer in New Zealand cricket,' he said at a press conference in Auckland. 'That means I honour the cricket traditions but it also means I am excited about the future of cricket in New Zealand.

'I haven't been appointed to warm the seat for a couple of years and I feel confident I am certainly going to bring some value to the role.'

Hesson's first assignment will be to take the New Zealand team to India after the completion of the tour to the West Indies, when Wright bows out.

'Having the opportunity to coach the Black Caps is very special for me,' Hesson added.

'I am passionate about cricket in New Zealand and doing the best job I can for the players and the fans of cricket in this country.'

'My coaching philosophy is essentially built around setting world-class standards to produce excellence and that's what I intend to do with the Black Caps.

'It's a big challenge but one I'm ready for and excited about.”

He will become New Zealand's fourth coach in as many years since the departure of the last long-term incumbent, John Bracewell, in December 2008.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White was thrilled to have secured Hesson's services for the next three years.

'Mike has all the right attributes we are looking for in a national coach and we are delighted have him through to the ICC World Cup 2015,' White said.

White outlined what he called a “rigorous” recruitment process, which had seen 26 potential coaches around the world contacted.

Four contenders entered an interview process which involved White, NZC's director of cricket John Buchanan, board member Rob Hart, NZ high performance sport chief executive Alex Baumann and former national captain Stephen Fleming.

The panel had been unanimous in the choice of Hesson, according to White, and the NZC board had endorsed that decision.

White added: 'It's been a lengthy process, but we've been absolutely conscious of getting the right person and we are very, very confident we have got the right person.

'He's very well organised, he's got great management skills, great communication skills, technically he's very sound as a coach as well and I know that he will empower not only the players but also the support staff as well. The team will very much function as one.'

Arsenal line up Fernando Llorente as replacement for Robin van Persie

Arsenal line up Spanish striker Llorente as replacement for unsettled Van Persie

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UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 19 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Arsenal will pursue a move for Atletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente if Robin van Persie leaves this summer.

Manager Arsene Wenger wants a quick
resolution to the Van Persie saga so he can either prepare for the new
season with the Dutchman in his plans or have enough time to find a
replacement.

Wish you were here Arsenal target Fernando Llorente and his girlfriend on holiday in Ibiza

Wish you were here Arsenal target Fernando Llorente and his girlfriend on holiday in Ibiza

Wish you were here Arsenal target Fernando Llorente and his girlfriend on holiday in Ibiza

And Sportsmail understands Wenger and his scouting team have spoken at depth about a move for Spain forward Llorente should their talisman leave.

The 27-year-old – who scored 28 goals for Bilbao last season – has a 28million release clause written into his contract.

And Wenger would use the 20m-plus from Van Persie's sale in his attempt to lure the striker.

At 6ft 5ins, Wenger believes Llorente has the physical attributes and ability on the ball to deal with the rigours of English football.

But whether Bilbao would be willing to negotiate a deal below his hefty release clause remains unclear.

Running out of time: Van Persie wants his future sorted before Arsenal fly out for Far East out

Running out of time: Van Persie wants his future sorted before Arsenal fly out for Far East out

In addition to Llorente, Fiorentina
Stevan Jovetic and Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski have also been
discussed as possible replacements for Van Persie.

The future of the Holland
international will become significantly clearer on Saturday as the club
decide whether he will travel on their tour of south-east Asia.

Arsenal have been adamant their
captain will make the trip to Malaysia on Saturday, but club sources
have told Sportsmail that Van Persie being left behind is an option
being considered by the club.

On the radar: Poland's Robert Lewandowski

On the radar: Poland's Robert Lewandowski

The Gunners will play hardball with
Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus by demanding 20m for the striker.

But the notion of Van Persie not boarding the plane would surely signal the beginning of the end of his Gunners career.