The New Zealand squad have departed for England with a considerable off-field issue resolved – much to the delight of coach Mike Hesson.
The Black Caps boss was speaking publicly for the first time since former Test player John Parker apologised, in order to avoid legal action, to Hesson and captain Brendon McCullum for comments made in a document known as ‘The Taylor Affair’ – the title referring to Ross Taylor, who was ousted as skipper and replaced by McCullum late last year.
McCullum had earlier this month threatened to file defamation proceedings against the 62-year-old Parker in relation to “certain false and highly damaging claims”.
Hesson said: “It’s good to get it all tidied up. We’re certainly looking forward to focusing on some cricket.”
New Zealand assembled as a team at Auckland International Airport last night – the first time the players were all together since their thrilling 0-0 series draw against England in March.
Hesson said he had spoken with the players one on one ahead of travelling to London via Los Angeles, and the players’ excitement was brewing away.
“I think the guys are extremely excited with any England tour,” he said. “There’s a Test at Lord’s in three weeks and it’s hard to keep the smiles off their face.
“It’s a huge tour for us and one that everyone’s looking forward to.”
Among those travelling is Martin Guptill, out injured in New Zealand’s home series against England, and Mitchell McClenaghan, who will take part in the 50-over leg of the tour.
Aside from three one-day internationals, New Zealand will also take part in the Champions Trophy.
Ahead of the first Test at Lord’s will be two warm-up matches against Derbyshire and the England Lions – two games Hesson believes will prove important in determining his line-up for the first Test.
“We’d like to think that by the time we get to the Test that we’ve got a number of guys pushing their claim,” he said.
“Everyone’s going to need some good performances to push their case.”