Cricketers pick their favourites

'He could wait for the ball to come to him'

Part four: Bowling to Mark Taylor was frustrating because you would rarely get a chance against him (00:00)

Producer: Ranjit Shinde

May 15, 2012


Mark Taylor

'He could wait for the ball to come to him'

May 15, 2012

Smokin'.....Mark Taylor hits another boundary ..Australia v South Africa 3rd Test, Day 3 at the Adelaide Oval, Sunday February 1st 1998.
Mark Taylor: excellent reflexes and balance Colin Whelan / © Action Photographics

Mark Taylor: very good technique, a front-foot player, and good against spin bowling. He was very difficult to bowl at in Australia, with the new ball, because he used to leave incredibly well. He knew his off stump.

In Australia, when you bowl a length ball, there is a lot of bounce. So all these players, especially the Mark Taylors and Mark Waughs, used to leave the ball from the middle stump and it used to go over the stumps. That was very annoying. And then we used to pitch it up a bit more and they would drive on the up. As a bowler, you have to adjust, analyse your length very quickly, otherwise you get hammered there.

Australians are very strong cut players and strong pull players. That's why your line has to be normal. Being a bowler from the subcontinent, when you see a bit of bounce, you go berserk. You go all over the place. So my suggestion to young bowlers who tour Australia would be: don't go overboard with the bounce, because that's what Australians like and want as batsmen. Mark Taylor used to see off the new ball and play equally well against Mushy [Mushtaq Ahmed] and all the spinners we had.

I remember the Sydney Test match in 1996. It reversed pretty early because it was a dry wicket, hot five days. We won the Test match. I remember Mark Taylor playing the reverse swing very late. Every ball he played as an inswinger. If it was outswing he would just let it go. If you come as a batsman to play inswing to a reverse-swing ball, and if you don't chase the ball and play inside with your pad and bat, then you will play inswing and automatically leave outswing. That was his technique.

I remember him getting 300 against Pakistan, but I wasn't playing that game. I was injured, thank god for that! The Pakistani bowlers got hammered.

I played a lot of cricket against Mark Taylor, and I have huge respect for him as a cricketer and as a person. He was a proper batsman. His balance was excellent, his reflexes were incredible, and he was a very good puller. It was a special shot. Even against myself, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Waqar Younis, he used to play very comfortably. It appeared to me that he had lot of time. He could actually wait for the ball to come to him. He was never in a rush. He was always very steady, very still.

Obviously the Australian team that I played against ruled the world for 15 years. They won three World Cups on the trot. They were the kings, the likes of Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Ricky Ponting… all these guys. But as a bowler I knew that I had a chance against these guys. On a given day they did hammer me from time to time, but I knew I had a chance, I could get them out. But against Mark Taylor, with the new ball, it was very rare. He was a true Test cricketer. He played well in one-day cricket as well but he was a class act in Test cricket.

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