It’s the story many of us would love to be told, and one we are unlikely to hear.
But one thing is certain: Ross Taylor — faced with a situation perhaps unique in New Zealand sport — found a way to take a very public rejection on the chin and become one of the greatest batsmen in not only New Zealand history, but also his era of world cricket.
Taylor has been the Black Caps’ backbone, utterly irreplaceable, an isolated elder statesman maybe, and undervalued in the limelight sense. Any strained relationships with some of those around him never became an issue, because he kept on delivering.
He delivered again over the weekend, compiling a match-winning ODI 90 against Sri Lanka as younger men went berserk with the bat.
Sri Lanka is not a country which might normally evoke the warm fuzzies for Taylor, who was dumped as the national captain on tour there in late 2012.
The way it was done was awful, on foreign soil with Taylor far from home and left wondering who he could trust. Little wonder that accounts of what happened were conflicting and confusing.
Mike Hesson, who installed Brendon McCullum as captain, almost certainly did the right thing as events turned out. But he did it the wrong way. It is one black mark against Hesson’s brilliant reign as the national coach.
Such a public blading from a prestigious position should not have occurred on the fly in a foreign hotel room.
But what came next is crystal clear, and it might rank as our finest sports comeback of sorts.
Taylor, after skipping the early 2013 tour to South Africa, has gone on to much more brilliant things with the bat.
This is especially so in ODIs, where he is ranked three in the world. His average before the Sri Lankan controversy was around 37. In ODIs since, it skyrocketed to near 60, for an overall average of 47.
His test improvement is not quite so marked, but his post-2012 average of 48 is still outstanding by New Zealand standards, this period includes a few massive scores, and he is ranked at a very decent 20 in the world.
It hasn’t always been easy. During this second cricketing life, Taylor — as did comrade Martin Guptill — lost his treasured mentor Martin Crowe.
Kane Williamson ghosted past Taylor as the country’s premier batsman, and a cold-hearted administration – with no sense of natural justice – even blocked Taylor’s attempt to play in Australia’s Big Bash.
But Taylor keeps producing, even if he remains fairly tight-lipped off it.
McCullum has given his side of the captaincy story, in a book, but I would love to know what Taylor went through, what he believed happened during the forced handover. He doesn’t come across as a natural bean-spiller however.
Compared to blasts from the past such as Crowe and McCullum, characters like Williamson and Taylor build their careers in relative shadows and appear happiest there.
It would still be interesting if Taylor found a way to fill in the blanks, give us his take on the nitty-gritty leading up to and after the Sri Lankan meeting.
The relentless dramas in Australian cricket made me think of Taylor’s journey after his latest ODI innings in Mt Maunganui.
Aussies tend to be more outspoken during controversies.
But the silence doesn’t lessen what Taylor went through.
The man survived, blossomed, and became an enduring national sports treasure.
Source link : https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=12186271
Publish date : 2019-01-06 04:51:58