RELEASED. Omitted. Dumped. Axed. Dropped. Terminated. It doesn't matter how you put it, losing one's place in an elite team has never been a pleasant experience and isn't about to change any time soon.
It was difficult to draw too many conclusions from Ross Taylor's usual chirpy self after he finished training in the nets at New Plymouth yesterday with the Central Districts Stags. But it does make one wonder what fans should decipher from national selector Gavin Larsen's remarks that the 32-year-old batsman had not been selected "on his performance" for the impending international Twenty20 ANZ Series against Bangladesh starting in Napier on Tuesday next week, not because he was recovering from eye surgery a month ago.
"I guess I haven't played any cricket [lately] but I played domestically over the winter and did very well for Sussex with the 10-odd games I played for them so, yeah, I'm very happy with the way my Twenty20 is," Taylor said yesterday before today's McDonald's Super Smash match against the Auckland Aces from 4pm at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
The Sussex statistics make interesting reading on the 78-test match, 176-ODI veteran who has played 73 T20 internationals, including 65 innings, 13 not outs and amassing 1256 runs.
Taylor was the best Sussex batsman in the NatWest T20 Blast in England this year.
He scored 394 runs from 10 innings and was not out three times on a strike rate of 133.1, including 30 boundaries and 17 sixes.
The No 3 batsman averaged 56.28 and had the highest score of 96 not out.
The middle-order batsman's highest international score is 63 and he is averaging 24.15 with five half centuries and 42 catches.
Is Black Caps coach Mike Hesson trying to relay a message to an instinctively powerful hitter who has tailored that desire to carve a nice in the test arena?
But then the bloke who survived the mother of all dumpings, about this time in 2012 when New Zealand Cricket axed him as white-ball captain and unceremoniously replaced him with Brendon McCullum on Hesson's counsel in all three formats, seems to be taking his omission from the shortest format in his stride.
At the height of the tumultuous tour of the subcontinent in 2012, Taylor rose above all that only days before to score a match-winning century against Sri Lanka, raising his bat and head towards the sky to acknowledge his late paternal grandmother.
It is that sort of mettle that should see Taylor, who made his international debut in Napier before going on to carve up one of the most successful batting careers in New Zealand cricket history, find his mojo again.
"I guess I'm just happy to get out there for CD now and play for them to get ready for the test matches," said Taylor.
"I've played over 200 games [domestically] so Twenty20 was always going to be part of the landscape of world cricket for the past 20-odd years," he said, not having any qualms about having to adapt between the three formats over that time.
Taylor, who scored a test century against Pakistan last month, said it was "pretty sore" to play with surfer's eye and he couldn't open it for three to four days but persisted with training before surgery.
"I think it's four weeks today [when I had surgery] so it's nice to be back and playing cricket."
He felt the more he played the better his eye would respond.
"I just used a few drops to help me out so it's always nice to help win a test match," he said somewhat self effacingly.
Is it a baptism of fire to come out of surgery to enter the cauldron of white-hot deliveries zipping around one's head to get one's eye in?
"I don't know, I suppose I'll find out.
"It doesn't matter whether it's one-day, Twenty20 or four-day cricket, there's always going to be fast bowlers bowling at you," he said, unperturbed by the challenges that will only open a new chapter in a journey he has chartered with dexterity.
It has been a while since Taylor was home for Christmas but he relished his time with wife Victoria and their 5-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, and son Jonty, who turns 2 on February 16.
"We're always playing a Boxing Day game so it was enjoyable to have family and friends around ... "