India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Bangalore August 30, 2012

Need to attack India spinners - Taylor


During his time at IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore, Ross Taylor quickly established himself as a fan favourite due to the ease and frequency with which his swipes cleared the mid-wicket boundary. Back in Bangalore as captain of a stuttering New Zealand outfit, he'll have to play more in the manner he did at the pre-match press conference: with a straight bat. Nearly every question Taylor was asked dealt either with New Zealand's dip in form or his own lack of big scores. All of which he answered with tact and optimism.

Taylor was asked whether his side would be satisfied with a draw in Bangalore, a result most observers would call a reasonable achievement for the underdogs as they haven't won a Test in India since 1988. Taylor acknowledged the challenge ahead but remained positive. "In a Test match, we go session by session. In the last three or four Tests, (we have realised) it only takes one bad session to ruin a Test. So we don't want to look too far ahead. And, we're still in the series, we have not won many Tests in India and we need to be brave and courageous in the way we go in this Test. We have nothing to lose."

Taylor called for a similarly adventurous approach to overcome New Zealand's biggest weakness on this tour, the indecisive batting against the spinners. "(We have to) attack Ashwin and [Pragyan] Ojha and hopefully put pressure back on them. And when we attack them, there hopefully won't be many men around the bat."

In the past 12 months, New Zealand's misfiring batsmen have put up a 300-plus total only three times, including twice against also-rans Zimbabwe. It is the sort of record that prompted some stinging criticism from former New Zealand coach Mark Greatbatch, who earlier this week questioned whether New Zealand's batsmen were taking on board what they were being taught. Taylor refused to be drawn into saying whether the comments were justified. "Our biggest critics are ourselves," Taylor said. "Everyone is entitled to their opinions. I myself am very hard on myself. No matter what others say, I was very disappointed in the way I played."

Taylor has a massive role to play in New Zealand's brittle middle-order, especially in the absence of Jesse Ryder and Daniel Vettori. The manner of his second-innings dismissal in Hyderabad - bowled after shouldering arms to an offspinner from Ashwin - will rankle, and adds to a dismal recent record, with only two Test centuries in his previous 30 innings stretching back to March 2010.

Taylor held out hope of an upswing in his batting form. "Two hundreds in 30 innings is not great, but I feel I'm not far away from scoring runs. I'm working hard. When you score two centuries in 30 innings, sometimes you score two in two games. So you never know."

Besides winning over sceptical former players and critics in the media, Taylor has an added reason to perform in Bangalore. "Mackenzie has been to 2 games, I've scored 11, 0, 2 and 7," he tweeted. "Thinks it's time I showed my daughter that I can bat."

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    He has attacked enough...what an innings. Wish he had stayed on for some 150-160 odd score.

  • kuna on August 31, 2012, 2:52 GMT

    @Erebus26, haven't you noticed dhoni reserves this "mentally weak bowler ashwin" for tough situations in ODI/T20 - mainly bowling him powerplay and end of game situations.. dhoni must be a fool to use such a "mentally weak" bowler in those situations ;)

  • TR on August 31, 2012, 0:38 GMT

    Based on Ashwin's performance in T20s I can easily say he is more deadly bowler when you try to hit him out of the attack. Seeing him off was usually easier than attacking. But then that is T20. Attack is a good strategy, if limited to only the loose balls and done with good technique.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2012, 23:02 GMT

    most rediculous thing ive heard in the past week "we (blackcaps) arent big on using our feet so we have to find another way" ross taylor u idiot use your feet better and you wont be collapsing half as much. Even ex coach mark greatbatch said that they used to bring in specialist coaches but people like taylor and mccullum pretty much just shun the advice given. SORT IT OUT

  • Peter on August 30, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    They are getting it all wrong, all this talk about not looking too far ahead, taking session by session.

    The mindset needs to be to accept the test is 5 days and the mental approach needs to be "Im here for a long time" not just "I need to bat out this session" The fact that they can only see as far away as two hours is half the reason they are not prepared for a long time in the middle.

    Get this into your brain guys, you are there with your backs against it for 5 days. You will be under pressure for 5 days, accept that now or you will only continue to bat out an hour or two.

    You have to understand the battle is a very very long one, thats the only way you'll prepare yourself to concentrate for much longer periods of time.

  • mo on August 30, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    @erebus26: ashwin is "mentally weak as a bowler"?!? i think *that* is his only strength! give credit where credit is due, no? :)

  • Vikram on August 30, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    More than batting, if Taylor can hold on to the catches that come his way, it will lift the entire team. When that happens, I believe good batting will follow automatically.

  • Conrad on August 30, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    ...I was sifting through historical NZ test series results, interestingly enough, there have been similar humiliating defeats as in Hyderabad followed up by honorable draws or even wins... it's not just this team that has been humbled...Go NZ!!!

  • Partish on August 30, 2012, 19:38 GMT

    NZ best chance of scoring will come in BLR. They should enjoy the conditions there. Even bounce with some pace. The outfield is always great and the boundaries are usually small. So if they play out the new ball, there are runs to be had there. having said that, human mind does different things under different circumstances. The NZers are not in the best frame of mind and their shot selection in the 1st test left a lot to be desired. Its basic skills that they are lacking and add application on top of that, to stay at the crease for long periods of time and score runs. Lets hope they make the most of the opportunities that come their way. The Indian attack is not scary at all in these conditions, I have a feeling Umesh Yadav will be the key, but other wise it should be tough for India to take 20 wkts if NZ play conservatively and not throw it away.

  • Munaf on August 30, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    Leave the poor guy alone.

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