Thank goodness for that. Regardless of what happens in this test, the runs that Ross Taylor scored mean so much more than their contribution to the end result.

Some of the doubts over Taylor's captaincy came from a perceived lack of batting form. Hopefully this innings will alleviate some of that pressure. If Taylor has any doubts about his abilities as captain, the last we need is him doubting his batting skills too.

In New Zealand cricket's current state, Taylor's runs are more important than his leadership. A great captain would not inspire this team to significant improvement. I say that because he doesn't have the cattle to work with.

Taylor's most influential contribution to his team is to score more runs - and to score the way he did on Friday.


Taylor is our best test batsman. He has to be the catalyst for change by playing captain's knocks like the latest. This is how he can inspire.

You often hear him say that batsmen must play their natural games. But I'm not sure how many of them know what their natural games are in test cricket.

Arguably in ODI and T20 cricket, they have a better handle on how they can best go about playing an innings, but in tests, batsmen are still unsure.

In this innings, Taylor demonstrated what he means by playing his natural game.

Taylor looks at his best and less likely to get out when he's accumulating at a relatively fast rate, as he did in this innings. He looks comfortable, controlled and, most of all, classy. In reality, he shouldn't have to see his score ticking over at a run a ball but if he has the intent to score singles regularly, he will reduce his horror dismissals and realise the class he has.

What Taylor also shows with innings such as these, is the ability to plan for one's deficiencies. Taylor's technique is not classical and is quite incorrect in places but he makes it work by playing appropriate shots.

Each batsman is individual but his team-mates must try to emulate his understanding.

It doesn't surprise me that Stephen Fleming's most inspirational captaincy days appeared to coincide with the times he played some of his best innings. I used some of his performances to drive my game on and, in doing so, could play my role in team performance.

If Taylor can back up what I saw on Friday evening, then everyone can breathe easy about his captaincy because team results will improve and he will feel more comfortable about making calls as captain.