Kolkata: Ross Taylor, who will be the seniormost cricketer on either side in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India at 37 years, has been a part of too many so-near-yet-so-far affairs for the Black Caps. The Super Over heartbreak in the 2019 ICC World Cup final must be still fresh in his memory - and the senior pro wants to finish on the right side this time against Virat Kohli & Co.
Taylor, a rock in the Kiwi batting line-up at the key number four spot in all formats, suffered a niggle with a calf strain during a training session at their high-performance centre at Lincoln earlier in May - but feels he should be back to full fitness ahead of the two-Test series against hosts England and the WTC final (from June 18). “It’s part and parcel of being an international cricketer. More is made of it when you get older,” he said in zest earlier this week before leaving for the UK.
“If you get a calf or a hamstring injury at 32, nothing’s made of it, but when you’re 37, there’s a few more headlines, but it is what it is, and I’m comfortable with where I’m at,” said Taylor, who made his first overseas tour of England in 2008 under the captaincy of Daniel Vettori.
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A natural strokeplayer, Taylor scored an unbeaten 154 during his maiden international assignment in England and says he would look relive those fond memories. “(A) hundred-odd Tests later, (England is) still a great place to play cricket, probably one of the best tours to go on. Obviously being in a bubble is going to be a bit strange.
“Thirteen years ago, fond memories of that tour and still to date one of the best innings I’ve played in Manchester in the second Test,” he said.
The ICC points system for WTC is still being regarded as a work in progress for some, but the consistency of New Zealand - whose whitewash of India at home in early 2020 had put them on the track in the pursuit of this inaugural title. Taylor is quite upbeat about their chances and feels the experience that the likes of a Will Young in County cricket will stand them in good stead.
If you get a calf or a hamstring injury at 32, nothing’s made of it, but when you’re 37, there’s a few more headlines, but it is what it is, and I’m comfortable with where I’m at
“It’s nice to see these guys get an opportunity to play County cricket,” Taylor said of Young, who hammered two centuries for Durham. “I guess before the IPL, county cricket was sort of where you cut your teeth in and learned your craft. The way Will has gone over there and got two first-class 100s, I sent him a message and said ‘well done’. And I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to joining the team in a few days.
Taylor told the Kiwi media that it was the first time he had packed his golf clubs for a tour - which he hopes to whip out after the quarantine at the Boundary Lakes golf course, which is located inside the Ageas Bowl.
“This is the first time I’ve ever taken golf clubs on a trip,” Taylor said. “The boys were hassling me because the last time I played golf with them, I was taking the plastic off as I was going around.
“It’ll be something different. You’re never too old to try something new, and it will be nice to get some time on your feet after having been in your room for a while.”