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Is it time for Taylor to declare?

Ross Taylor plays a shot in his 47 not out in the World Test Championship final. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Is it time for one of Wairarapa’s favourite sons to hang up the helmet and batting gloves on a glittering international career?

The signs have been evident for some time now that the end is approaching for Ross Taylor, and the beating of the drums will only get louder since a poor return from the two-test series in India, where the 37-year-old scored only 20 runs over four innings.

India has never been a happy hunting ground for Taylor. In 10 test matches there, he averages 21.15 with one test century – 113 in Bengaluru in 2012 – so his recent failures are no real surprise.

He went into the series with little or no meaningful cricket, but that was the same for several of the team.

In the 14 tests since his last test century, 105 not out against England in Hamilton in November 2019, Taylor has posted half-centuries on just three occasions, the latest, a well-compiled 80 in the Black Caps’ eight-wicket win over England at Edgbaston in June. However, he was all class in seeing the team to victory with an unbeaten 47 in the World Test Championship final against India in Southampton.

On the way this summer are supposedly easier pickings in a two-test series against Bangladesh for Taylor, who scored a magnificent 200 the last time the teams played in 2019.

That is followed by a far more challenging two-test series against South Africa, the only major test nation New Zealand has yet to beat in a test series.

The Proteas are also the only major test nation Taylor has failed to score a century against.

With only two matches needed to equal Daniel Vettori’s record of 112 tests for New Zealand, there are still two mighty big carrots dangling in front of Taylor’s nose.

However, he will have to show some form quick because with the emergence of Will Young, Devon Conway, and Darryl Mitchell, who have all displayed their potential to create long term careers in the test arena, his future could be on shaky ground.

With a record of 7584 test runs for New Zealand, at an average of 44.87, 19 test centuries, and a high score of 290, along with 8581 runs in 233 ODIs at 48.20, and 21 centuries, and more than 100 international T20s, the Lansdowne club prodigy has nothing to prove and owes the game nothing.

There’s no place for sentiment when it comes to international sport, but Taylor deserves the right to go out on his own terms.

Just ask two of our All Blacks greats – Ian Kirkpatrick, who was dumped without warning before the 1977 tour of France, and Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford, who was controversially dropped in 1990, sparking the ‘Bring Back Buck’ protests.

But then again, we don’t want to witness a demise a la Muhammad Ali, whose final performances in the ring were sad to behold and left a blight on his storied career.

Regardless of when he puts away the bat for good, the proud Taylor will not only go down as a Kiwi cricketing great but one of our small nation’s sporting greats.

But Rosco, please go out on top. Don’t leave it to the whim of the selectors.

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