Hesson hopes extra prep time pays off

New Zealand

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson has again said that the heavy defeats to South Africa in the Tests two years ago is what spurred the side's revival, and he hopes they can show how much they've improved in the upcoming limited-overs series.

The Black Caps were demolished in the Tests two years ago, but won that ODI series afterwards. Hesson says that win made them change their mindsets, which has resulted in two very successful years since, including a World Cup final.

They will now face the Proteas, who have not been in great nick themselves, in an T20 and ODI series, with the Kiwis already having won an ODI series in Zimbabwe ahead of this. The first game is on Friday.

Hesson said: "The one-day series win the last time we were over here was a big start for us. We hadn't won a series in SA and we were under-strength, so to win that was a big achievement for us.

"That was the start of a pretty big two years culminating in a World Cup final and the Test team moving up the rankings steadily. We are improving."

One of the reasons for the improvement is extra preparation time in overseas conditions, with the management getting to countries earlier, to make sure players are rested and ready for different venues.

Hesson explained: "A true test of a side is how well they go away from home. Just about every side performs well at home because that's what they have grown up doing.

"We have started to win series away from home on a relatively consistent basis and that's a sign that we are making progress.

"We've been able to extend our prep time by four or five days. We plan a long time in advance in terms of the series we are likely to be confronted with. You tend to do that when you get rolled over.

"It doesn't always guarantee success but it gives you the best chance. We like to be as diligent as we can about those kinds of things."