We are not talking about just another player when we talk about Ross Taylor. Taylor is the leading run-scorer in Tests for New Zealand. He is only behind Kane Williamson when it comes to tons and half centuries scores in the format. He also has 8581 ODI runs at an average of 48.20; Martin Guptill has the next-most among active Black Caps with 6927 runs.
In red-ball cricket, though, his time is coming to an end. And it’s not just his dismissals or a series of low scores that point towards the finish line but also his body language.
Taylor’s weakness against the incoming ball is an open secret. Mohammed Siraj bowled a perfect out-swinger after angling it in, in the first innings. Taylor had to play at it but was beaten for pace and was clean bowled.
In Kanpur, Taylor was out defending in both the innings – first a caught behind and then an LBW. So he had already tried defense against spin and failed. He fell defending against the pacer in the first dig in Mumbai. So Taylor opted for aggression in the second innings.
Ravichandran Ashwin tossed one up around off, Taylor got down on a knee to play his favoured slog and only ended up skying the ball for leg slip to take a catch. Licking his lips in his trademark style, looking once more at what he had done on the big screen, the former captain walked back, perhaps one last time in India.
Taylor’s record in India belie his class and his skills against spin – an average of 21.15 in ten Tests. In Tests, he averages less than 25 in two of the last four calendar years.
The 37-year-old buckled down to play a vital role in New Zealand’s successful chase against India in the World Test Championship final earlier this year, finishing with an unbeaten 47. With New Zealand playing at home at the start of next year, Taylor would do well to bow out as one of the legends of Kiwi cricket. Not as just another player.