Ross Taylor has revealed the depth of his relationship breakdown with coach Mike Hesson in an exclusive interview with the Weekend Herald on the day he relinquished the reins of the national team.
Yesterday details emerged of a meeting between Taylor, Hesson, assistant coach Bob Carter and manager Mike Sandle before the first test in Galle last month.
"They told me I wasn't good enough as a captain, wasn't good enough for this team," Taylor said. "To hear I wasn't good enough was disappointing. It was interesting."
At the end of the hardest few days of his career, Taylor, 28, released a dignified statement confirming he had declined New Zealand Cricket's offer to be test and tour captain of New Zealand. He claimed that having a split captaincy would lead to "confusion" within the squad. In a subsequent interview with the Herald, he provided context behind his decision.
"I was offered the test captaincy a couple of weeks (after the Sri Lanka meeting), when it was clear to me from conversations, they didn't want me at all."
Taylor said he had become aware his position was becoming tenuous.
"It wasn't huge shock. Hesson never supported me through the whole time I'd been captain, but I was surprised by the timing."
Taylor and his manager Leanne McGoldrick met New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White for three hours on Thursday. It was a fraught meeting. "I wanted to go in with an open mind and no preconceived ideas. Leanne and I asked a lot of questions, the majority of which he couldn't answer."
The only prior communication he had received from White was a congratulatory text from the CEO following the Colombo test victory, a win secured largely on the back of Taylor's double of 142 and 74. He was not invited to the tour debrief.
"I thought I'd get input as the captain, but they never asked my opinion."
As talk started to swirl that his reign was in jeopardy, rumours began to be floated about certain aspects of his captaincy, notably his communication.
Taylor acknowledged he was not the perfect captain, but said he felt he had improved immeasurably from the tour to Zimbabwe last year and would have continued to get better had management allowed him the opportunity.
"I know I had areas to work on," Taylor said. "I was far from the finished product, but I lacked a lot of support from the management in a lot of areas, which was disappointing. Under [John] Wrighty I was learning a lot; under Hesson, the relationship was pretty poor. I didn't think he supported me in that role."
On the vexed question of his relationship with Brendon McCullum, the man many will see as having agitated for the position, Taylor was matter of fact. "We're teammates and I fully support him. I'm behind him 100 per cent. Captains and coaches come and go all the time. At the end of the day, the team is forever and I wish him well."
McCullum was not talking to the media yesterday. It is understood that NZC are anxious to avoid tying McCullum into Taylor's demise, however impossible that might be to achieve, and want him to focus on galvanising the squad ahead of one of the most daunting assignments in international cricket. The two have talked amicably since the decision.
Taylor's decision to take some time off robs New Zealand of their best batsman for what shapes as a treacherous tour to South Africa.
It is not clear whether he will return for the marquee home series against England, though he made it clear he has unfinished business in the sport.
"It's still fresh and raw. It's been a pretty difficult five months for me. It's a chance to get away from it, spend some time with the family and have a Christmas. I don't believe I can give 100 per cent to the game at this time. Cricket is my life and my passion. I love the game and I love playing for my country. But taking a break is the right thing for me right now."
Batting: 1047 runs at 49.8 (overall 43.57)
Hundreds: 3 (overall 8)
Lost: 12 (2 n/r)
Batting: 795 at 46.76 (overall 37.86)
Hundreds: 2 (6 overall)