England in New Zealand 2012-13 February 7, 2013

Relationship with Hesson a 'work in progress' - Taylor

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ross Taylor trained with the New Zealand team in Auckland on Thursday, for the first time since he turned down the Test captaincy and took a break from cricket in early December. Following the practice session, which was in preparation for the England Twenty20s, Taylor said he was still working on rebuilding his rapport with coach Mike Hesson.

"The relationship's a work in progress, but I've got friends in the team and I'm looking forward to playing for them, and obviously playing for management and the country as well,'' Taylor was quoted as saying by APNZ.

Taylor had opted out of New Zealand's tour to South Africa following a contentious captaincy handover to Brendon McCullum, in the lead up to which Hesson had apparently questioned Taylor's ability to lead the team. However, Taylor maintained that relations between him and McCullum were fine: "I met Brendon this morning, I'm sure we'll go and meet up over the next couple of days somewhere. I don't think was anything wrong with our relationship in the first place.''

He said he was looking to move on from the controversy as quickly as possible. "I haven't seen anything untoward [coming from team-mates] towards myself. And I've just been acting like my normal self, so I don't see anything there.

"There are probably still people outside of the team that want to stir it up a little bit, but we can't control that. You've just got to get on with it. It is what it is, and I'm sure come Saturday it'll be all forgotten."

New Zealand will take on England in the first of three T20s on Saturday, and Taylor said he will not refrain from offering McCullum advice on the field: "I did that even when I wasn't captain, so I don't see any change in that. Regardless of whether you're a senior player or a junior player, if you've got something to offer the team you'd be stupid not to offer it.''

England batsman, Eoin Morgan, however, suggested that the distance between Hesson and Taylor could pose problems. Having witnessed the damaging dressing-room rift which saw Kevin Pietersen excluded from the England set-up last summer, Morgan has first-hand experience of how strained personal relationships can affect a team.

"I think I'd find it difficult if I didn't get along with the coach," he said. "You spend a lot of time with each other, and your coach is normally someone you seek advice from. For me, it would be crucial to get along with my coach."

A further issue for a New Zealand is how to get the best out of McCullum. Following the T20s, the teams face-off in three ODIs and three Tests and, according to national selection manager Kim Littlejohn, McCullum's role with the bat could change in that Test series. "There's every chance McCullum may bat at No. 5," Littlejohn said. "Mike has some pretty strong views about where he believes Brendon is best suited.

"We've had some preliminary discussions, nothing is locked and loaded, but it's definitely under consideration. We do have problems at Nos. 1 and 2, and we've got to tidy those up."

New Zealand were handed two innings defeats in the series against South Africa last month, and in those four innings the opening partnership of McCullum and Martin Guptill extended into double digits only once, 48 being their best effort. Since the beginning of 2012, McCullum has opened with Guptill nine times and the pair has crossed a stand of 32 just once - that was a 124-run partnership in a winning effort, but it came against Zimbabwe. In the same period, apart from the innings against Zimbabwe, McCullum has crossed 50 just once as an opener.

New Zealand are expected to name their squad for the Test series, which begins on March 6, on February 20.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on February 8, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    Hesson needs the boot (as does the whole top end of the NZ cricket administration). I listened to a radio interview (or at least as much of one as I could stomach) with Hesson. He was asked if the differences with Taylor had been resolved. He was so evasive that I don't think he could have given a straight answer even if they had stuck a ruler each side of his mouth. I have no confidence in anything Hesson says. Both Taylor and Bond come across as straight talking honest people, so I would believe them ahead of the rest.

  • Mark on February 7, 2013, 23:16 GMT

    Great that Taylor, hands down our best player, is back. NZ should be competitive in the ODIs and T20s but there is a real issue with the test team. We simply have no openers, merely a bunch of number 4 or 5 batsmen. Like others have mentioned the key to opening is negating the new swinging ball so that others down the order can profit later.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    How can u keep a player like Taylor away from all the formats when by a far greater margin he is your best player?? If Newzeland was'nt shinning in his captaincy tenure then even they are not doing perfect in the mccullam's short reign. Taylor was the kind of captain, who hasn't lost his batting touch while captaincy like Clarke and Smith but Mccullam doesn't seem so !!! BUT THAT'S a by gone story... I believe in limited over games, Newzeland has a very competitive side ...taylor will once again be an X FACTOR in batting .

    A follower of Newzeland cricket from Pakistan.

  • Alex on February 7, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    I often wonder how players like Ross, Chris , Kevin and Ronnie fit into a dressing room after the hand that was dealt unto them by the Coach etc.We all must put such things behind us bur please remember " we are just HUMANS." LET THE GAME BEGIN. Play cricket ....guys .

  • Alex on February 7, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    Ross is back , now let's play the game. Hope he don't carry a grudge like the WI players who had a runnin' with the Coach etc .

  • Jordan on February 7, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    I'm glad mccullum can bat at 5. An opener in tests should be someone who can block and stay in.. Kill the new ball. Smacking boundaries is the opposite of what we want. And slogging is what mccullum does, is it not? i don't understand the logic at all behind having him open. Proud of Hesson for sticking to his guns and keeping mcslogga back there.

    Im glad Taylors being positive, hopefully it'll be a close and exciting series :)

  • Jason on February 7, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    New Zealand can't do much without Taylor, by far he is their best player in all three formats, Hesson is the trouble as Bond had a go at him too.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    I remember the day Taylor was announced Captain and the effect it had on McCullum... moving on it is best for Taylor to go out there and play like he did a couple of years ago and put himself into the record books of NZC This lad has a lot to offer. Gi for it Ross!!! not forgetting the IPL round the corner.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    NZC should recall Jessy raider for the Tests. My 11 in tests 1.Jessy 2.Bmac 3.KW 4.Rossco 5.BJ 6.Brownlie 7.franklin 8.Southee 9.Bracewell 10.Boult 11.Jeetan Patel(untill Vettori Available). This line-up could be handy in any situation.

  • Reg on February 7, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    wherever McCullum bats he has GOT to learn not to waste referrals on his self-deluding believe that he cannot be out LBW. His batting partners. whoever they happen to be at any given time, have simply have to help him to stop his profligate waste of this scarce resource in what has now become a quite rediculous habit. Time to grow up, Brendon!

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