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Taylor basking in history

Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson celebrate victory as they walk off after the World Test Championship. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Ross Taylor has spent a lot of time on the phone and assembled a spin bike during his quarantine in a Manukau hotel. CHRIS COGDALE caught up with Wairarapa’s sporting hero with 10 days, 19 hours and 15 minutes remaining for his managed isolation.


Catching up with the family and relaxing are foremost in Ross Taylor’s mind as he sits out the remainder of his managed isolation after returning from England, a world test cricket champion.

Overseas travel is nothing new for the veteran Black Cap, but he said this time, his three children – Jonty, Mackenzie, and Adelaide – are in for a surprise.

“We were in a bubble the whole time, so I wasn’t able to go shopping for them,” Taylor said. “They normally associate dad going overseas with presents, so they’re in for a little bit of a shock, because their presents won’t be as good as usual.”

Tuesday was the first day Taylor could leave his room because England is considered a red zone, and he had to return a negative covid-19 test, and even then, there was nowhere to exercise other than an area to walk around.

NZ Cricket did provide some exercise equipment to keep the players active and to help pass the tedium of being confined to their rooms.

“We had delivered some spinning bikes, so that’s keeping us occupied, and me just trying to work out the manual was probably enough. It killed a good half an hour. I had to assemble it as well, but it was a lot easier than I thought.”

The boredom of quarantine is in stark contrast to the joy of hitting the winning runs at Southampton’s Rose Bowl to seal the test cricket world championship win over India.

“There was probably a lot of emotion, and I was really happy to have won, but once I hit the winning runs and embraced Kane [Williamson] we were almost relieved as well.

“I guess after losing by such a tight margin in 2019, it was nice to get it across the line finally.

“For me, it makes up for 2019.”

On that fateful occasion in the 2019 World Cup final at Lord’s, New Zealand and England finished tied after 50 overs, and then again after super overs, only for England to win on a farcical countback of boundaries scored.

After the 37-year-old put those demons to rest by hitting the winning boundary, finishing unbeaten on 47, in the test final, Taylor said his phone went mad immediately.

“I try and get back to people as soon as possible, but this is the first time I didn’t reply to anyone for a day.

“I thought I would just soak up the moment and just rang my wife [Victoria] and the kids, Mum and Dad [Ann and Neil], and my manager Leanne. They were the only people I talked to straight away, and then it was just celebrating with the team and soaking it all up because you don’t win a world cup very often.”

Although on the face it, the eight-wicket victory appeared cruisy, Taylor said chasing the target of 139 to win was daunting.

“It was just one of those wickets where there’s always a ball that had your name on it.

“Kane and I had a bit of luck which you needed on that wicket, and when Kane was given out [LBW] and reviewed it, there was a stage there that if we had lost three or four, and we still had to get 70-80 runs I think it would’ve been pretty tight.”

Taylor said the Dukes ball also had a big impact and moved a lot throughout the game, and the batsmen had to be on song pretty much the whole time.

The 108-test veteran also said the win lifted a lot of pressure off the Black Caps.

“I didn’t really think I’d get to play in another World Cup final, let alone win one, so just to be able for New Zealand to win a major tournament is great for the team and the support staff involved, but it’s great for the fans and the people who have stuck with us.

“Hopefully, next time we’re in that situation, the pressure is off us, and we can do the job without having to make history.

“It was such a great series all-round, and I thought if it hadn’t rained, we would have beaten England at Lord’s.

“And to rest players and beat England in that second test, it was a good three weeks to be a New Zealand cricket fan that’s for sure.”

As for the celebrations after the final victory, Taylor reckoned they were pretty subdued, and he had been involved in bigger ones.

“I think because of the magnitude of it, there was a three-day build-up into it, it was a six-day test, and I was mentally pretty tired more so than physically, the emotion was pretty draining, so it probably was not as big as everyone thought.”

When he’s back home in Hamilton next week, Taylor is expecting a visit from his proud parents Neil and Anne, and after that will consider his future.

“All my energy went into trying to win the World Cup and it was nice for BJ [Watling] to have a good send-off. But I think over the next couple of months, I will have an idea of where I am and where the team see me.

“Hopefully, I’ve still got something to offer NZ Cricket and Central Districts as well.”

Having become the first player to have played 100 tests, 100 one day internationals, and T20s for his country, when he does retire as one of all-time greats, the humble Taylor deserves the right to bow out of the game on his own terms.

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