Anendra Singh: To dethrone Taylor will show ugliness

By Anendra Singh

The other day I lumbered into the office to find a white envelope posted and addressed to me in hand writing.

I ripped it open to find a copy of my sports column dated Thursday, September 1, 2011 and headed "SBW stands for a Shockingly Bad Wager".

On the top of the column the handwritten one left a concise message: "How right you were."

The reader wasn't just anyone but someone who had represented his country as an All Black.

I hasten to add I'm not bringing this up for any egotistical mileage but simply to point out some things in life you can see coming with the certainty of Christmas and its trappings.

In that vein, I recall writing about the leadership struggle between New Zealand cricketers Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum in late March last year after Daniel Vettori stood down and openly backed the Otago batsman/wicketkeeper.

I pointed out not long after that Taylor was the right choice and McCullum, obviously through his reported statements, hadn't responded too well on missing out on assuming the mantle of captaincy of the Black Caps.

Not surprisingly the media is broaching that subject again amid rumours the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags batsman's position is looking shaky again.

I was watching the Central Districts Hinds' women's domestic match against the Auckland Hearts at QEII Park, Masterton, when I heard Taylor is likely to lose some of his portfolios as captain.

You could say I was talking to a couple of cricket-savvy gentlemen who were astute enough to notice on TV that during the recent tour of Sri Lanka McCullum sat on one side next to Black Caps and former Otago Volts coach Mike Hesson while Taylor sat a distance away with young batting talent Kane Williamson.

The Wairarapa-born Taylor, who had raised his bat and looked skywards to celebrate his century before Williamson joined the party for a second test victory in Colombo, was dedicating the ton to his paternal grandmother from Masterton who died early last month.

Having arrived soon after midnight on Saturday, Taylor had gone to his wife and their first child.

He won't be playing in Friday night's CD Stags v Wellington Firebirds HRV Cup televised Twenty/20 match at McLean Park, Napier, and who could possibly blame him for that.

"He has only seen his child for about 60 days this year," a member of the CD contingent remarked when asked why he wasn't playing.

To win consistently impeccable team leadership is an essential ingredient. No one can argue with that.

You've got to have players who are keen to buy into that team philosophy, almost in the cult-type scenario that former CD Stags coach Dermot Reeve had impressed on his troops before incumbent Alan Hunt took over.

An astute captain quite often demands the best from his subjects and isn't shy to hold them accountable if they fail to measure up with the bat or the ball.

Conversely, a stellar skipper also leads by example and isn't afraid to chastise himself for his shortcomings, either.

I hasten to add, Taylor's put his best foot forward with the bat in that department time and again.

A trustworthy slips merchant, he has dropped a few catches to allow his detractors to question his mental fortitude.

In August Hesson confirmed Taylor had his support as leader but then raised some uncertainty at the vital Super 8 stage of the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.

If bowlers have formed a faction in the squad then there's suggestions McCullum has been a busy man in the dressing room and one has to ask how concerted has New Zealand's drive been on tours to eke out wins if some of them don't favour Taylor at the helm?

NZ director of cricket John Buchanan, on returning from Sri Lanka last week, told me there would be no changes in the squad.

Let's hope so because anything otherwise would be sending a wrong message of the coup variety to incumbents and future players.

Overall, it typifies cricket's sad state and changing leadership isn't going to solve anything.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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