The adjective, ‘Miffed’ could have described Ross Taylor this past fortnight over his treatment by New Zealand Cricket, in particular the chief executive, David White.
Taylor looked disappointed while discussing about his omission from the Black Caps Twenty20 side, before NZC blocked his path into the Australian Twenty20 Big Bash League (BBL) Melbourne derby on January 1.
It prompted Taylor to have conversations with coach Mike Hesson, then White, in search of an explanation before he rejoined the New Zealand squad for Thursday’s first test against Bangladesh in Wellington.
Ross Taylor said, “When I missed out Gav [Larsen, national selector] gave me a call and I had a chat with Hess. They gave their reasons. In the BBL, Hess was all for me going but David [White] had other reasons. He didn’t want me to go with the play-travel rule, and he didn’t think it was a good idea with such a big summer ahead.”
He added, “I had a chat with him. He had his reasons. As it worked out I probably wouldn’t have played anyway with the side strain. It is what it is.”
NZC or any other cricket board in the world have to supply a No Objection Certificate (NOC) before their players can grace an overseas league. Kiwi cricket board had no problems providing that for batsman Colin Munro (Sydney Sixers) and spinner Ish Sodhi (Adelaide Strikers) in recent days but they had some for Taylor.
Prolific batsman, Taylor is valuable sounding board for captain Kane Williamson – was denied an exemption from the play-travel-play rule as NZC thought that he was too valuable to risk, with Australia and South Africa looming at home.
The master agreement between NZC and Players’ Association allows for a designated rest period between matches, and Taylor wanted to cross the Tasman and play for the Renegades the night after blasting 80 off 50 balls for Central Stags against Canterbury in New Plymouth.
Taylor said, “It would have been nice to play in front of 70-odd thousand in the Melbourne derby but New Zealand Cricket have got their protocols on play-travel and you’ve got to respect that.”
Taylor picked up a side strain swinging towards the short Pukekura Park boundaries which saw him ruled out of final at the same venue last Saturday; won by Wellington. He was cleared to play this week, and crouched at first slip at catching practice on the Basin outfield on Tuesday.
In his first innings since undergoing surgery to remove a growth from his eye, which ruled him out of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy series in Australia, Taylor blasted 82 not out for the Stags then backed up with 80 two days later. He’d already been left out of the New Zealand T20 side for the three-match series, with fellow Stag Tom Bruce deservedly given a chance to impress in the middle order.
Veteran said, “I was disappointed to be out of the T20 side. I love playing all formats for my country and to get the call on Boxing Day was disappointing. You’ve got to respect the selectors’ decision. To answer it back with two 80s was nice.”
Taylor, 32, insisted the double setbacks hadn’t soured his relationship with NZC, which appeared healthy four years on from the captaincy debacle when he was removed in acrimonious circumstances.
He confirmed he would put his name forward in the Indian Premier League auction on February 4, and also hoped to play T20 for English county Sussex who he represented in all formats last year. He couldn’t resist a quip: “I’ve got to get the NOC first.”
First things first: two tests against Bangladesh then a full series against South Africa, as he sits one short of his late mentor Martin Crowe’s New Zealand record of 17 test centuries.
Middle order master class said, “At the moment I’m just enjoying being back in the test team and can hopefully score some runs and give a bit back to the youngsters and help Kane out along the way.
Taylor lastly said, “I know what it felt like when I came into the New Zealand set-up as a youngster. A lot of guys started retiring and I had no one to really learn off. Hopefully I can hang around and teach a few of these youngsters.”