Tag: Ross Taylor

No-one knows where Ross Taylor is supposed to sit

Ross Taylor (via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 9, Bangladesh v New Zealand

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The Waca – fast bowlers’ graveyard

Ah, the Waca. Fast bowlers love it because it gives them an opportunity to bowl plenty of overs. Batsmen are terrified of it because of the humiliating possibility that they might not make a ton. The pitch has been so challenging in the second Test between Australia and New Zealand that only two batsmen have managed double hundreds. New Zealand didn’t even get to declare in their first innings.

We’ll stop short of saying that this pitch is unfit for Test cricket, having only recently made the point that you can only truly judge such a thing after the match has concluded. We will however admit that after four days, we’re starting to form an opinion.

Setting that aside for a minute, it’s good to see Ross Taylor making some sort of a comeback. He looked to be the next Kane Williamson back when there wasn’t even a first Kane Williamson, but seemed to have ebbed away a bit in recent times. He lost the New Zealand captaincy, looked a bit sad and appeared to be developing moobs. Things weren’t looking good, but flat pitch or not, scoring 290 against Australia in Australia is a reasonable knock. Maybe he’s been relaxing more and pursuing his other interests.

Ross Taylor is having a fine old time

The story of the New Zealand v West Indies series seems to be West Indies’ batting collapses. This is odd, because they’re hardly a new phenomenon. It’s also harsh on Trent Boult, who’s a darn tidy bowler.

It’s perhaps even more unfair on Ross Taylor, who has countered everything thrown at him – or occasionally bowled at him – with disdain. He’s averaging almost 250 in the series after scoring two hundreds and an unbeaten double. Overall, his Test average now stands at 47.49. In New Zealand, where batting tends to be rather tricky, he averages over 60.

It also sounds like he’s a colossal cricket nerd, which isn’t a bad thing. This is how he got away from the pressure of his innings during the lunch break:

“Peter Fulton had the Almanack out and I was answering the questions and it was nice to just get away from it.”

In the evenings, he plays Brian Lara Cricket to unwind. Probably.

The Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum captaincy thing

Okay, we think we’ve got to grips with what’s happened.

Mike Hesson said to Ross Taylor: “I don’t like you and I don’t like your face. I’m going to get a new captain.”

Ross Taylor replied: “Who the hell are you? When did you become New Zealand coach?”

Mike Hesson said: “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that I look like a young Dennis Taylor.”

Ross Taylor said: “Who?”

Mike Hesson said: “Dennis Taylor. The snooker player.”

Ross Taylor said: “You don’t really look much like him, you know. You don’t look like a cricket coach either.”

Mike Hesson said: “And you don’t look like a cricket captain.”

Ross Taylor said: “Oh,” and then looked at the floor so that Hesson couldn’t see that his eyes had gone a bit wet.

Mike Hesson said: “I want Brendon McCullum to be captain because I’ve known him longer.”

Ross Taylor said: “That’s a stupid reason for making someone captain.”

Mike Hesson said: “Come on. He needs it. He stopped keeping wicket so that he could become a batsman, but it turns out he isn’t all that good as a batsman so we need to give him a new job.”

Then everyone went to Sri Lanka for a bit and after New Zealand won the second Test and drew the series, Hesson realised that he’d look like a right dickhead for getting rid of Taylor, so he pretended that he’d wanted to keep him as Test captain all along, even though that probably wasn’t the case.

For his part, Ross Taylor feels a bit fed up and now he won’t answer the door.

Kamran Akmal helps Ross Taylor to a hundred

Pakistan’s last five overs went for 100, largely thanks to Ross Taylor. Earlier in his innings, Taylor had been given a couple of lives by – who else – Kamran Akmal.

Kamran Akmal amazes us. We hope he never goes away. You’d think the ability to catch might be an entry requirement for wicketkeepers – particularly international ones – yet Akmal seems to have footballs made of ice instead of hands – slippery, round, smooth things wholly unsuited to capturing a lofted cricket ball.

Asking Kamran Akmal to keep wicket is like asking a clouded leopard to look after your chickens while you’re on holiday. Day one, he comes round and he scatters some grain for them. Day two, he comes round and he scatters some grain for them. Day three, he comes round and he scatters some grain for them. Then he stops.

‘Hang on,’ he asks himself. ‘Am I a clouded leopard?’ He takes a look down at himself and sees a distinctive cloud-like pattern. ‘That proves nothing,’ he thinks, eyeing the chickens. ‘Although then again, I do have powerful legs equipped with rotating rear ankles that allow me to safely climb downwards in a head-first posture, much like a common squirrel.’

‘Sod it,’ he says. ‘I am going to eat those chickens.’

You see, it’s not that Kamran Akmal isn’t trying. He’s just doing a job for which he is entirely unsuited.

Ross Taylor hits fastest Test hundred by a New Zealander

Ross Taylor plays quite a flukey contextual masterpieceAre breathtaking innings all about how many sixes are hit and how few balls are faced?

Ross Taylor’s 81-ball hundred against Australia wouldn’t even be half as good as Yusuf Pathan’s 37-ball IPL hundred if that were the case. Clearly, it’s all about context.

A DLF Maximum is commonplace. In Twenty20, batsmen are obliged to score very quickly. In Test cricket, you have a choice – which makes innings like Taylor’s more audacious and more absorbing.

It’s been a low-scoring match and Taylor wasn’t short of time. He was also up against five international bowlers, rather than the one or two you get in the IPL. What does he do? He chances his arm. There’s such a broad scope as to what a player might do in a Test match – that’s the context.

The five best batsmen over the next five years

The big names are generally old bastards. Who’s next?

Ross Taylor, New Zealand, age 25

Ross Taylor tends to look like he’s the man who’s going to win the match for New Zealand shortly before doing something slightly spacky. Pretty soon those fifties will become hundreds and those hundreds will become double hundreds.

JP Duminy, South Africa, 25

Duminy has barely started in Test cricket, but has the reassuring habit of being exceptional whatever the format. Twenty20’s just for sloggers, is it? Then why is Duminy so effective. The best batsmen are generally the best batsmen in all forms of the game.

AB de Villiers, South Africa, 25

Yes, he is only 25. There are already bowlers in world cricket who’d sooner try and insert a bat handle into their urethra than bowl at vehement letter-C denier, AB de Villiers.

Michael Clarke, Australia, 28

Recently voted ‘most overrated player’ by readers of the Herald Sun, Michael Clarke must be rated really, really, phenomenally highly. Quite clearly following in the footsteps of Border, Waugh and Ponting as an Aussie captain who’s mint with the bat.

Gautam Gambhir, India, 28

Test average after 18 Tests: 36, with one hundred. Test average in the next nine Tests: 94, with seven hundreds. Gautam Gambhir is up and running.

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