Taylor turns the clock back to revive form
Ross Taylor said he decided to unleash the shackles in an attempt to rekindle his form, and the early signs are that the move could pay off. He produced two counter-attacking innings during the second Test at Headingley then warmed up for the one-day series against England with 77 off 62 balls against Leicestershire.
Taylor made a valuable, but scratchy 62 in the first innings at Lord's, and admitted it was not really his style of batting. With another period of one-day cricket now upon New Zealand - following a short break after the England trip they tour South Africa in August - he is keen to bring some freedom back to his batting.
He chipped in during New Zealand's World Cup campaign - making a top score of 56 against Bangladesh - but did not produce a stand-out performance and had comfortably the lowest strike rate, 61.55, of all New Zealand's batsmen.
"I haven't scored as many as I would have liked and I have made a conscious effort to express myself and get back to the way I want to play - to hit the ball like when I first played for New Zealand," Taylor said after the warm-up match against Leicestershire.
"You can go two ways, you can try to graft it out a bit which I did at Lord's or try to play your shots as I did at Leeds and against Leicestershire. It was nice to get a few out of the middle and get some rhythm back."
Taylor does not have to go back too far to remember a golden run in his one-day career. Last year, he scored three hundreds in consecutive innings, which made him the first New Zealand batsman - and only seventh in history - to achieve that feat. Currently Taylor has 12 ODI hundreds, putting him second in the New Zealand all-time list behind Nathan Astle who made 16.
He was barely needed with the bat last time New Zealand faced England in an ODI, at Wellington during the World Cup. Tim Southee's 7 for 33 hustled out England for 123 before the hosts rattled off the runs in just 12.2 overs as Brendon McCullum struck 77 off 25 balls.
It will be a very different-looking England side on show at Edgbaston on Tuesday with potentially just five survivors from the Wellington match, although one of them could be Steven Finn who was torn into by McCullum.
"You've got to respect the opposition and after the way they performed in the World Cup they'll want to put in a good performance," Taylor said. "There are a lot of new faces we've not seen before. But hopefully we can start again, we have the confidence."