Ross Taylor: A run-machine born in New Zealand to break records

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Ross Taylor: A run-machine born in New Zealand to break records

Twitter/ICC

Ross Taylor: A run-machine born in New Zealand to break records

With an aggregate of 18,199 runs, Ross Taylor finished his illustrious international career as the most-run getter across formats among the New Zealanders. In fact, Taylor, the only player to make 100 appearances in each of three formats, has more overall hundreds than any other Kiwi batter.

With his inimitable class and the ability to start with alacrity,  Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor aka Ross Taylor cherished countless memories and astonishing achievements during his 16-year-long illustrious international career. It includes the prestigious inaugural ICC World Test Championship title, that New Zealand won by beating India by eight wickets at The Rose Bowl, Southampton.

At Seddon Park on Monday (April 6), Taylor played his last and 450th international match against the Netherlands. He came in to bat when New Zealand raced to 215/2 in 38.1 overs, but only managed to score 14 off 16 balls in his final game in national colours before he walked back to a rousing reception from his hometown (Hamilton) fans.

Taylor’s prolific records in the international arena have not been highlighted as much as they would deserve.  He represented New Zealand in 112 Tests, 236 ODIs, and 102 T20Is, making him the only person across the world to have more than 100 appearances in each of the three formats, and remained on the rise till 2017. From then, he did not seem as proficient in Test cricket as he used to be.

Between January 2012 and December 2017, Taylor evolved himself into a responsible batsman in red-ball cricket. Before that, he had 2,449 runs in 33 Tests at an impressive average of 40.81 with five centuries. However, during the above mentioned period, he accumulated 3,797 runs in 50 matches at 54.24, which includes 12 hundreds. Unfortunately from there on, his average dropped to 34.36, and only 25.82 away from home. As a result, Taylor, at 38, began to be looked a burden on the team across formats by many.

"...To my team mates it has been pleasure, thoroughlyenjoyed my time and I will be watching how you guys grow from the other side. You are in good stead and I will miss you boys. There's no bigger place to say thank you to my wife, mum and dad, all the family members, coaches for all the sacrifices they have put in. It has been a long 16 years and thank you for everything. Hamilton, thank you for coming out and I couldn't have asked for a better place to play my last game."

Ross Taylor's retirement speech

Taylor, a star in every sense, made a far-reaching impact in Test cricket against Australia in 2015 at the WACA, Perth. He scored 290 off 374 balls, which still remains the highest score by a New Zealand in Australia. He spanned over nine hours to reach there with the help of 43 fours, which eventually helped the Black Caps save the match after Australia piled up a mammoth 559/9 declared in the first innings.

Similar to Tests, Taylor was a special player in ODIs as well. His best score of an unbeaten 181 off 147 balls came against England at Dunedin in 2018, which saw New Zealand give a successful chase for a total of 336 in 49.3 overs on the back of Taylor’s stupendous knock, which included 17 fours and six sixes.  Overall, he aggregated 8,607 ODI runs at an average of 47.55 with 21 hundreds, the most by a Kiwi batsman.

With 1,909 runs at a strike rate of 122.37, Taylor was a regular member of New Zealand’s T20I set-up as well. Though his best score in this format came way back in 2008 against West Indies at Auckland, where he smacked four sixes and as many fours in his 50-ball 63. The contest ended up as a tie before the tourists won the one-over eliminator.

Like some of the legendary icons of the game, Taylor owned the No. 4 position in Tests for New Zealand. Of the 7,655 runs he scored in the format, 7,059 (in 173 innings) came while batting at two down. Only Sachin Tendulkar (13,492 in 275 innings), Mahela Jayawardene (9,509 in 195 innings), Jacques Kallis (9,033 in 170 innings), and Brian Lara (7,535 in 148 innings) had scored more runs than him at his familiar batting position.

Simultaneously, Taylor was able to build his form at No. 4 in ODIs as well. He notched the most hundreds (19) as well as had the most runs (7,690) while batting at two down in the 50-over format, which speaks volumes about his character.

To make the Black Caps a potent side across all three formats, Taylor played his part with his batting that drew its strength from sound temperament. He left an indelible impression with a noteworthy career and demonstrated his true potential more often than not. His retirement has left a void in the cricketing world that perhaps can never be filled.

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