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Ross Taylor: An Important part of the New Zealand’s World Cup plans

Ross Taylor has been in the form of his life in the past couple of years. He will be an important factor for New Zealand in the World Cup

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Last updated: 06.04.2019
Ross Taylor celebrating his century

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After getting eliminated in six semi-finals of World cup from 1975 to 2011, New Zealand played their first world cup final in 2015 at the iconic MCG. Although the final was not a happy memory the passion and skill shown by Brendon McCullum’s men up to that point in front of their home crowd would remain in the memory of cricket fans for a long time.

New Zealand would love to replicate this performance in the upcoming world cup also. Although the top order will depend a lot on Martin Guptill and the skipper Kane Williamson, a key member in the team is Ross Taylor. Taylor, a regular member of the New Zealand setup for the last 13 years has had an exceptional last two years leading to the world cup.

It was not easy. There was a question regarding Taylor’s consistency and contribution especially during his captaincy days which ended with a strained relationship with the then coach Mike Hesson. But over the last two years, he entered into a new phase and produced some unbelievable numbers.

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In the last two years, Taylor played 35 ODIs scoring 1,882 runs with an average of 75.28 with three centuries. He also scored 14 half-centuries including three scores in the 90’s. During this period he got his highest ODI score, an unbeaten 181 of 147 balls against England while chasing 336 to level the series. He followed it by 80 and 86 not out against Pakistan in UAE. Taylor has been consistently good against all the opponents he faced during this time and maintained an average of at least 46 against all the countries. In the matches where New Zealand won, his average reached an astonishing 91.86. 2018 saw Ross Taylor scoring 639 runs at an average of 91.29.

Ross Taylor was the fourth quickest to reach 8000 ODI runs followed by Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Sourav Ganguly. In the process, he surpassed the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. Post-2015 World Cup nobody could improve as much as Ross Taylor did.

Being the senior most player in the squad, Taylor will have an additional responsibility of guiding fellow young middle order players like Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls. Recently he has also broken Stephen Fleming’s record of 8,007 runs to become the highest run-scorer for New Zealand in One Day cricket. In a long World cup like the upcoming 2019 edition where each team will play each other and there are nine matches for each team in the group stage, at times new Zealand may face a difficult situation while batting. And then Ross Taylor can appear as the savior of his team with his experience and current form. Moreover, in the 3 matches, he played in England during this period his average was almost 50. So technically he can be good support in the World cup given the fact that it will be staged in England.

Another indicator of Taylor’s good form is his recent test heroics. In the last test match played by New Zealand in March against Bangladesh, Taylor scored his third test double century to lead them to an innings victory. In this process, he also broke his idol Martin Crowe’s record of 17 test century and registered his 18th test ton.

For the last five years, Taylor is not part of the IPL and will go to England with a fresh mind rather than some of his team members and competitors. At 35, this is Taylor’s last chance of achieving glory in a global tournament for his country and he will be ready to deliver his best to make that happen.

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