Published: February 14, 2020 4:22:17 pm
Senior New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor has learnt to live with his imperfections as he stands on the cusp of a coveted 100th Test of his career. Only Stephen Fleming, Brendon McCullum, and Daniel Vettori has played more Tests than Taylor who will only enter an elite club by playing his 100th Test in the series opener, beginning in Wellington on February 21.
“No one has a perfect career and you fail at some stage especially as a batter. Mistakes and scenarios make you grow as a person,” Taylor told reporters on Friday.
Asked what does 100 Tests mean to him, he cheekily replied: “Probably getting older! But no, I think I have been happy with what I have achieved to date.”
“Test cricket and cricket in general as a batter, you go through a lot of ups and downs and that’s definitely what I have been through, and as a team as well. But Wellington holds a special place in my heart and I am sure having a lot of family and friends there will be something that I will be proud of and look back on at the end of my career with fond memories,” said the 35-year-old Taylor.
On emotions playing a distracting role in the first Test, Taylor downplayed that factor. “I guess at the end of the day, it is another game of cricket and you try and contribute in any way that’s possible. But at the same time, you got to enjoy it for what it is. But I am sure once you get into the game, you can enjoy it and just play cricket like you want to. Wellington can do a little bit early on, so I am sure batting or bowling, it is going to be an interesting contest.”
For a journeyman cricketer, a family ready to make sacrifices is very important which is where wife Victoria’s role has been pivotal in Taylor’s successful journey.
“It is not easy on my wife Victoria to raise three kids for as long as she has. We play a lot but that’s probably why when you do play at home, it’s nice to be a dad and it’s nice for them, Jonty and Mackenzie to be old enough to sort of understand what dad does.”
And then he said what perhaps holds true for any professional. “Regardless of whether you score runs or not, they (kids) give dad a hug. That puts everything into perspective and hopefully, when they are bit older than they are now, they will be proud of what I have achieved as a cricketer for them,” added Taylor.
Expect Indian pacers to perform better than what they’ve done: Glenn Turner
Hamilton, Feb 14 (PTI) Former New Zealand skipper Glenn Turner is quite surprised that his country has its “nose ahead” in the ongoing bilateral series against India and the reason, according to him, is the underwhelming performance of the Jasprit Bumrah-led visiting pacers. However, Turner expects Bumrah and Mohammed Shami to lift their game in the upcoming two-Test series, which begins on February 21.
After winning the five-match T20 series 5-0, India lost the ODI series 0-3 failing to defend 347 in one game and nearly 300 (296) in the final match. “I have no time at all for T20 cricket. It’s a blot on the game. 50-over cricket, you can have a game. Technically, I felt bowling from both sides have been way below than what I had expected at international levels in both formats,” Turner told PTI in an exclusive interview.
Turner believes Bumrah and Shami’s ability to swing the ball will work to India’s advantage during the Test series. “At the moment, New Zealand have their nose ahead but I have been rather surprised, that has been the case. India have shown in three-match series they have several whats and I am surprised that they have not performed better than they have,” he said.
Turner feels India’s problem in Tests could be the excessive white-ball cricket they have played. “Shami has shown he is a talent and has great stamina. It’s almost in my mind, once Test matches start, theory of how you should bowl under certain circumstances in limited-overs cricket tends to be sidelined. That being the case, I would expect the Indian bowling to be better than what we have seen,” opined the former New Zealand skipper.
Bumrah is coming back from an injury and Turner hoped that the spearhead will have the capacity to bowl 25 overs in a red-ball game. “….he has got natural talent despite being unorthodox in his bowling action. He tends to come off the pitch quicker than you would expect and has accuracy. He has had a good warm-up bowling 10 overs in ODIs but then limited-overs doesn’t help in building stamina for bowling 25 overs a day,” he explained.
As the discussion turned towards New Zealand cricket, Turner said that Kane Williamson’s “orthodox” approach in leadership and his ability to look at the bigger picture has provided the stability that the team needs.
The 72-year-old, one of the most graceful batsmen of 1970s, feels that Brendon McCullum as a leader wasn’t “international standard” while Stephen Fleming’s tenure saw the players becoming more powerful which had its pros and cons.
“When Kane came along, I saw him as more orthodox in his approach. I have always liked his approach to the game, quite a stable individual and I think he has the ability to look at the bigger picture under pressure,” he said.
About Fleming, who captained New Zealand for a decade, Turner said he did some good things but also had a negative impact. “…that was the time when player power took over. My only criticism I have of Fleming is that because of him, the likes of Kane were able to get what they wanted which was (at times) good for them rather than being good for the whole. Barring that Fleming was solid in what he did,” felt Turner, who played 41 Tests.
While McCullum’s exciting brand of cricket earned him many fans, Turner found his captaincy a touch over-rated. “McCullum, to me, was not up to international standards as a captain. I felt his decision-making during the England series (2015) was woefully inadequate. I felt he gave it away although it takes more than one person to spoil it,” said Turner, who is known to be sharp in his views.
While his take on captaincy was clear, Turner didn’t want to get into who is the greatest Black Caps Test batsman. “It’s a fruitless exercise to try and compare people of different eras as there are different parameters to be looked at. For example, South Africa (with bowlers like Mike Proctor, Clive Rice and Garth Le Roux) were not a Test-playing nation when I was playing. Also neither Bangladesh was there nor Zimbabwe,” said Turner, who scored more than 34,000 runs in first-class cricket in 453 games with 103 hundreds.
New Zealand cricketers have been known for being gentlemen on the field but Turner is a bit amused by the image. “…because the assumption that is being made is that you have to be ugly on the field of play in order to be giving your best. In other words hate for your opponents is considered to be more performance-enhancing. I find that to be ridiculous,” he signed off.
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