Kane Williamson's unavailability for the second Test cannot be given as an excuse for the defeat in Kolkata, New Zealand's stand-in captain Ross Taylor said on Monday, as he called for the team to step up and take responsibility in the absence of their star batsman in testing Indian conditions.
Skipper and star batsman Williamson sat out of the Kolkata Test with fever, but is expected to recover in time for the third and final Test starting in Indore on Oct 8, but Taylor said that the team should step up in the absence of their talisman.
“Anytime you have your skipper and best player out it is disappointing, but there has been times when Kane hasn't played One-Day Internationals and this probably isn't going to be the last time, with injurie... the team has to step up,” Taylor was quoted by PTI news agency.
“We can't rely on Kane all the time. It was good to see him walking about (today). I'm sure he'll be a bit lethargic over the next couple of days; it's still pretty tiring losing a few kilos and being stuck inside. But there are positive signs he'll be ready for the next match, and it will obviously be good for the team to have our skipper back,” Taylor added.
Speaking about the 178-run defeat in Kolkata that saw India seal the series 2-0, Taylor said, “(Would have been) nice to bat first but don't think that would've had made too much difference. They put us under pressure at times, and we weren't able to sustain it with the bat.
“In hindsight it would have been nice to score a few more runs, and if India were 3 for 40 and their lead wasn't as much... Any time you are playing catch up from that far behind, there is a lot of what-ifs,” Taylor added.
Taylor said that spinner Jeetan Patel and performances from the New Zealand's pacers were the positives to be taken into the next match.
“At the end of the day we were beaten by a better side. Our pacemen were definitely positive and even the way (Mitchell) Santner and Jeets (Jeetan Patel) bowled. Jeets coming in, wasn't easy (for him) after only being in the country for a day and a half,” Taylor said.
“To bowl as well as he did in that first innings and score some valuable runs, (without which) we could have been even further behind... Yes we are disappointed (but), we've got to take the positives and hopefully we can play better in the next match.”
Detailing the key moments in the game, the 32-year old said, “The way Saha came out in both innings when the game was in balance, those two fifties put us on the backfoot. Rohit's (Sharma) innings was outstanding but full credit to our bowlers running in. A similar wicket would be good and hopefully Kane can win the toss.”
The visitors clearly appeared to be struggling in hot and humid conditions throughout the series, and Taylor described it as the toughest he has played in.
“Definitely up with hottest Test series I've been part of. A lot of their bowlers and batsmen were tired too. Pretty hot and humid. (In an) ideal world, (we would) send players (early) and get exposure. Comes down to funding but lucky some players come into IPL who mix and mingle with the stars of today to get knowledge. Kohli says it's cooler in Indore so I'm happy,” Taylor said.