Ross Taylor is an undervalued all-time great in New Zealand cricket.

These things seem to contradict but when it comes to some players, their brilliance is oft forgotten, left in the shadows of other talents.

In Taylor's case, it's the long shadow of Martin Crowe and the shining light of captain Kane Williamson.

Taylor doesn't generate the headlines of a Williamson, Brendon McCullum or Steve Smith but his contribution to the Black Caps is second to none.


Right now, he is New Zealand's greatest-ever batsman. Williamson will eventually surpass him you would think, but for now Taylor is on top of the totem pole.

17 test centuries with an average of 48.05 as well as another 17 (with an average of more than 45) in the ODI format, Taylor's record speaks for itself.

He sits third all time on runs in all three formats. He holds the wood on his mentor Martin Crowe, long held as the finest batsman to come out of Aotearoa, on both runs and average in the long game.

He may not have the elegance of Crowe and Williamson, but he sure as hell can score with the best of them.

The evolution of Taylor the batsman has been one to savour.

Fair-weather fans may not appreciate the nuanced changes he has undergone in his 11-year stint in the Black Caps.

Taylor transformed from a rollicking belter of the ball who underperformed given his abundant talent in his early days to a measured and prolific mainstay who uses his cricketing nous to consistently pile on the runs.

Despite the maturation process, you can see those aggressive tendencies haven't been entirely phased out of his repertoire.

The slog sweeps may be seldom seen but now he aggressively cuts anything slightly short and wide like a toddler gone rogue with a pair of scissors.

It defies belief that there is still a faction of Black Caps supporters that feel he shouldn't be there.

And, given what he went through with Mike Hesson in the coach's early days, you couldn't have blamed him if he had given up the ghost.

But, thankfully, he fought through the captaincy controversy in 2012 to continue to be New Zealand's rock and McCullum's most valuable servant with the willow.

When the Black Caps were down a hole, it was and is always Taylor the side turns to.

Taylor has begun this home summer in much the same way he has done in recent seasons - a lot of runs that are being outshone by other big scores.

Maybe he likes it this way, flying under the radar while his teammates get the plaudits.

It's the curse of the glue guy. Like Conrad Smith in the All Blacks, there won't be a real appreciation of how truly great Taylor is until he retires.

He is undoubtedly New Zealand's most underrated cricketer ever.

Taylor will likely not end up as the best player we've ever had statistically. That title seems destined to Williamson, and deservedly so.

But with the capability and the time to get his average to the hallowed 50 mark in the test arena and the circumstances he's had to get through, he will at least go down as the second-best we've ever had and maybe even higher.