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Cricket: Taylor writes new career chapter - as cricket senior pro

Black Caps batman Ross Taylor. Photo / OTAGO DAILY TIMES
Black Caps batman Ross Taylor. Photo / OTAGO DAILY TIMES

This year is Ross Taylor's time to cement his cricketing legacy.

The 32-year-old's career chapters have already been spliced into raw talent, record-breaking ability and thwarted leadership ambitions.

Now is the time to become entrenched in the role he embodies best, the senior pro.

This month Taylor racked up a decade's international experience. His ability was identified early and he flourished as the Next Big Thing before Kane Williamson arrived.

Under Martin Crowe's mentoring, Taylor learnt the art of batsmanship, cricketing nous and red wine consumption. As he quipped at Crowe's funeral, the cricketing aficionado pigeon-holed him as "a dirty slogger" on first impression. Taylor, with a higher left-elbow and eradication of cow-corner swipes, proved Crowe wrong. A friendship was established.

Taylor now looms as a successor to Crowe's record for New Zealand's most test centuries (17).

Taylor has 13 and his average of 44.73 has parity with Crowe's 45.36.

However, Crowe prospered in what was arguably cricket's most intimidating fast bowling era.

Taylor is his own man, regardless of the Crowe link. Given his talent, he would have succeeded anyway.

Taylor's catching, predominantly at first slip, has also been an asset. At 0.868 catches per innings, he has the second highest catches per innings ratio behind Bryan Young (0.931) of any New Zealand test player.

Taylor also endured the indignation of being demoted from the captaincy. He had to confront a tough life lesson that he wasn't wanted, but never ceded his integrity. History records Brendon McCullum's elevation to the role as an unequivocal success.

New limited overs captain Kane Williamson, who is expected to assume the test duties, is not shackled by politics from the previous era. He was a cricketer on the rise, who has since become an extraordinary New Zealand cricketing achiever.

Against India, Williamson was seen consulting with Taylor as a voice of reason. Taylor appeared liberal in distributing his knowledge.

It reflected too, in Taylor's endorsement of the decision to opt for three spinners in the opening win against India.

"It was a credit to Kane and Hess [coach Mike Hesson] for first coming up with the plan, and having the guts to go through with it," he said ahead of the World T20 match against Australia.

As a father of two pre-school children, Mackenzie and Jonty, with wife Victoria, he has attracted minimal recent Indian Premier League interest and opted for a contract with English county Sussex.

By September, Mackenzie will be at school and Taylor, conscious of domestic responsibilities, will want to be around home more.

- NZ Herald

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