There was a lot more than most pundits realised to Ross Taylor's historic, match-winning 181 not out against England this week.

There have been a lot of pointless comparisons about whether his was New Zealand's finest one-day century, so let's leave behind for a moment the actual batting of the wounded hero and look at what else Taylor has come through.

In 2011, it took New Zealand cricket six months - yes, six whole months - to appoint Taylor captain after Daniel Vettori stepped down. Why six months? New Zealand Cricket was cleaning house after the twin debacles of the Andy Moles coaching regime and Vettori's brief and largely unsuccessful period as skipper-selector-coach-chief cook-bottlewasher and bus driver. They brought in John Wright as coach and hosed out the selector stables - waiting until all their ducks were in a row before appointing a skipper.

Cricket can be the most backbiting, the most political, of sports and so it proved with this appointment. Worse, NZC allowed a presidential-style race between Taylor and Brendon McCullum for the captaincy - a decision that hurt the team long after.


It created divisions. Vettori, it was said (and never denied), favoured McCullum. Cricket teams being what they are, things did not stop there.

Taylor's appointment had a bloody end when, mid-series in Sri Lanka in 2012, coach Mike Hesson pulled the pin and installed McCullum instead. Taylor's captaincy, the gossip said, was too laid-back, perhaps lacking in communication skills other than displeasure when things weren't going well.

McCullum's style appealed to the team - or most of them - and fans and everyone eventually agreed: right decision but they'd botched the execution.

NZC's position was that Taylor would be relieved of short-form captaincy duties but retained as test skipper. Hesson said he'd asked the board that Taylor captain the test side. Taylor was adamant he'd been sacked as captain in all three forms of the game.

Asked on radio whether someone within NZC was lying, Taylor said: "Definitely."

After a spell out of the side to recover from all this, Taylor returned and a century in an ODI in Napier suggested he was healed or healing. But he fell into a trough of low form and looked like a man apart in the Black Caps.

In 2013, after an uplifting test against England, Taylor chose a positive result to outline his negative feelings; there was continued speculation about his relationship (or lack of one) with Hesson.

Fast forward now to that marvellous innings in Dunedin. One of the heartfelt hugs was from Hesson. Either time has fixed it five years on or Hesson, Kane Williamson, Taylor and the team have worked hard to heal the wounds.

Either way, it is always the one who feels wronged who has to bake the biggest cake of forgiveness - and that is Taylor.

But he did the business as a leader in Dunedin, didn't he?

It wasn't just his quad injury, the cramp and a growing alarm that his body might simply fall to bits. His leg injury restricted him from getting to the pitch of the ball a few times; it began to look as though New Zealand's only chance was to let a healthy batsman pick up the quick runs Taylor's injury was preventing.

In the end, he powerfully steered them home - triggering the fruitless search for a New Zealand ODI century better than that, in the full context of injury ... old and new, physical and mental.

Perhaps a more relevant question to ask is: Could anyone else in New Zealand cricket ranks have played that innings of injury mixed with inspirational hitting? There are a few contenders in a gutsiness plus talent list: Martin Crowe, Martin Guptill, Stephen Fleming, Andrew Jones, Chris Cairns, the recently deceased Bevan Congdon and Williamson.

Congdon, Jones, Williamson and Fleming simply may not have had the firepower to have hit 181 runs in 147 balls on one leg and one hand with cramp. In his eight ODI centuries (Taylor has 19), Fleming only rarely exceeded a run a ball; Williamson's skill means he could just about score 181 in his sleep - but maybe not in 147 balls in circumstances requiring some of Vivian Richards' DNA.

That leaves Cairns, whose ODI centuries (four) include two in 80-odd balls but who would never have arrived at the crease with New Zealand two for two, and Crowe. He unquestionably had the talent, though you wonder what tricks injuries such as Taylor's would have played on his sometimes delicate psyche. Which leaves Guptill, in my opinion the only other who could have played that particular innings.

Only he didn't. Taylor did - and it was the knock that knocked all the captaincy kerfuffle out of the park, confirmed his greatness in New Zealand cricket and his place in the top 20 averages of all ODI players in history (he is fifth for all players with more than 200 matches).

What a good feeling that must have been.