Ross Taylor has come a long way since his first appearance for New Zealand.
It was an ODI against the West Indies at Napier. March 1, 2006. Run out 15. The culprit, he quipped, was Scott Styris, who upon his dismissal shortly afterwards was advised by the local lads close to the dressing room that it didn't pay to run out the local hero.
''I was pretty nervous," Taylor said. "I'd missed a phone call from Sir Richard Hadlee (telling him he'd been picked for his debut). "I was at a UB40 concert and the old Nokia didn't quite work.''
Taylor admitted the idea at that point that 200 ODI appearances was too fanciful to have occurred to him. He will be the seventh New Zealander to that mark today in the fourth ODI against Pakistan at Seddon Park.
Now, as he pulls in records in his senior seasons, and a Halberg Sportsman of the Year finalist to boot — ''it did come as a surprise'' — he has long past the point of proving himself among the country's alltime finest players.
He's not particularly big on milestones but pointed out that as ''the family are coming up from Masterton it must mean a little bit''. Retirement is the time to reflect on achievements.
His last time out at Hamilton, now his home, produced 107 against the West Indies in the second test win in December. But just as age doesn't seem to be wearying him, he reckons there's plenty more runs to be accrued.
Taylor quipped, after snaring three slip catches in New Zealand's flattening of Pakistan at Dunedin last weekend, plus the runs tootling along, that he should have had his highly publicised eye operation earlier than just over a year ago.
He's feeling in good nick, New Zealand are playing confident, smart cricket, chasing what would be a record 11th successive victory in all interantional cricket today.
''Any time you're winning, and consistently, the confidence is going to be there. A lot of the players, even those with less experience, have played a lot of cricket.
''Pakistan are a proud nation and will come at us again. 3-0 (down) won't sit well with them, but if we can carry on doing the basics well hopefully we can go 4-0 up.''
Speaking of whom, coach Mickey Arthur had high praise for New Zealand yesterday, and suggested not enough credit has been given to them over the course of the season.
''I was hearing the other day talk about how poor the West Indies had been and how we'd been blown away,'' Arthur said.
''I'm not 100 percent sure enough credit has been given to the Black Caps. They are a very good unit, particularly in these conditions. It's a very good outfit who can shake up anybody.''
Arthur confirmed there will be personnel changes today, notably among the batting group.
''Motivation is still very high, we've still got two games to go and we're certainly not going to roll over and die.
''We can't fault the effort and workrate of the players. It's been outstanding but we have to learn to bat in conditions away from home.''
The match starts at 2pm tomorrow.
New Zealand's 200 ODI club:
291: Dan Vettori
279: Stephen Fleming
260: Brendon McCullum
250: Chris Harris
223: Nathan Astle
214: Chris Cairns
Ross Taylor's ODI record:
199 ODIs, 6903 runs at 45.11, 17 centuries
At Seddon Park:
15 ODIs, 611 runs at 50.91, 2 centuries