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Rosco returns to his roots

Ross Taylor. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

CRICKET

Black Caps great Ross Taylor returned to his Lansdowne Cricket Club roots on Saturday and received a rousing reception from a big crowd at the Queen Elizabeth Park Sports Centre.

Taylor is on a nationwide tour promoting his biography Black and White and spoke with co-author Paul Thomas in front of a crowd of former teammates, coaches, mentors, and cricket fans.

“I got told there would be over 100 so a lot of it is to see some familiar faces and a lot of people who have made a massive contribution to my career and have my family here and just pass on a few stories and hopefully they enjoyed it, and they enjoy the read as well,” Taylor said.

The book covers Taylor’s humble beginnings in Masterton through his record-breaking career until his retirement after 450 games, over all three formats, in April this year.

Taylor said the response from around the country has been unbelievable

“I was a little bit nervous, and you don’t really know where it’s going to go, but the positive nature I’ve had not only here in Masterton but all over the country, in some of the rural towns like Te Awamutu and Otorohanga, places that you never go to in a cricket capacity, it was good to spend some time with them as well.”

Making the task of writing the biography even more challenging was that most of the meetings between Thomas and Taylor were held over Zoom because of covid-19, and Saturday was only the second time the pair had met in person.

Thomas said the key to the book was Taylor’s commitment to creating a good and accurate account of his career.

“If you want to just get a book out there just to make a bit of money you can do that, but if you want a good book you’re going to have work at it and that means more time speaking to me than you probably want to and going into the thing in more depth and thinking about it more and being prepared so you don’t roll up to a session without having given it some thought and Ross was great in that regard,” Thomas said.

One of the subjects the book covers in depth is Taylor’s divisive sacking as captain during the 2012 tour of Sri Lanka,

“Obviously Ross went through one episode in particular that divided the cricket community and caused a lot of angst, and he was just very very clear that he wanted to tell his side of the story, because other people have had their say and there’s a lot of information and a lot of misinformation out there on what actually happened and as he says in the book it wasn’t a case of putting people away or getting revenge, it was just a case that ‘this happened to me and it had a big impact on me personally’ and it had a huge impact on his family and his friends.

“We went through it and told the story as it happened and so be it if it upsets people the truth is told I’m afraid I can’t feel too sympathetic to them.”

Thomas rates Taylor as one of the all-time New Zealand greats and says he would be an automatic selection in any best XI.

The Martinborough-based writer was not surprised at the big crowd at Saturday’s function.

“He has a great following here and it’s no surprise to see the turnout and see the obvious warmth and affection that people feel towards him and the pride they take in an extraordinary career.”

As well as promoting his book, Taylor is working towards a career outside cricket and has started work this month at equity firm Castle Point as a client relationship manager.

“It’s a company based in Auckland, and it’s been awesome so far. I’m learning a different skill and I’m a bit out of my comfort zone but I’m enjoying learning the ropes,” Taylor said.

He has also signed on as an ICC ambassador and will play in some masters’ leagues in India before returning for what could be his final first-class season with Central Districts.

“I will get to the end of this season and then make my mind up. I don’t think there will be much left in me, but you never know.”

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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