NZ's Hesson new Kenya coach
Nairobi - Cricket Kenya (CK) appointed New Zealander Mike Hesson as its new national coach on a two-year contract on Tuesday.
He replaced West Indian Eldine Baptiste, who left following the team's poor World Cup.
Hesson, 36, is a former coach of provincial side Otago and New Zealand A and also worked with New Zealand's Emerging Players squad and the full New Zealand team.
Cricket Kenya said Hesson was widely regarded as one of the best young coaches in the game, having won two domestic titles in his six-year spell with Otago.
He was a specialist batting coach with the Black Caps and spent time as an assistant coach with English county side Gloucestershire.
Hesson demonstrated "a real desire and clear vision to take our national team forward," CK chief executive Tom Sears said, after the team lost every one of its six games at this year's World Cup - including a hefty 10-wicket defeat by New Zealand.
"We are delighted to have secured Mike's services, he has an excellent record of developing players and successful teams, he has worked at the highest level with some of the best players in the game," Sears added.
Hesson takes charge of a Kenya squad in transition, with many aging stars not offered new contracts by the board following the World Cup disappointment.
Kenya surprised to reach the semi-finals at the 2003 World Cup, but did not match that performance at the last two tournaments.
The African team struggled badly at cricket's 50-over showpiece this year, slipping to heavy defeats by New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and even losing to minnows Canada.
Baptiste parted company with the team in April following the tournament, and CK dumped senior players like Thomas Odoyo and World Cup captain Jimmy Kamande by not offering them new contracts.
The board focused, instead, on bringing through youngsters.
"Being appointed the Kenyan national coach is a real honour," Hesson said. "I was stimulated by the passion shown to drive Cricket Kenya forward.
"I am very much looking forward to this exciting new coaching opportunity and working with the undoubted talent there is within Kenya."
Hesson takes over in time for Kenya's ICC Intercontinental Cup first-round match against UAE in Nairobi next week. The teams play two 50-over games, followed by a four-day match.