South Africa in New Zealand 2011-12 March 6, 2012

Taylor not daunted by South Africa's stars


If Ross Taylor was fighting with you, there is every chance you might not know it. He does not raise his voice, make exaggerated facial expressions or change his body language. He is far too composed for any of that.

It probably makes him the ideal leader for New Zealand as they prepare to take on a South African side that even the New Zealand public thinks they cannot beat. Taylor does not care for that kind of talk. He will not be wound up by suggestions that South Africa's gallery of stars will outshine his own. "We play international cricket and we've got a couple [of big names] on our side as well," Taylor said. "I'm sure they know about Daniel Vettori."

What about the overriding view that South Africa's battery of pace bowlers will outgun New Zealand's line-up, which will include two debutants in Rob Nicol and Kruger van Wyk? "We've played against some pretty fast bowlers in the past. It's nothing different," Taylor said.

Instead, it is South Africa that he thinks will be confronted with unfamiliarity that they should be wary of. "There are a lot of players in the South African team who haven't played much cricket and haven't batted in New Zealand conditions, which is completely different to batting in South Africa. We've got to use that to our advantage."

Five of South Africa's squad only arrived in the country on Thursday, including opening batsman Alviro Petersen, No. 6 Jacques Rudolph and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. The trio would have had just two training sessions before the first match, although both Rudolph and Boucher have been to New Zealand before. Taylor said New Zealand could capitalise on any gaps in their acclimatisation. "A lot of their players haven't batted here and the lower order didn't get much of a bat [in the one-day series]."

Taylor himself has not batted since he retired hurt during his authoritative century against Zimbabwe in Napier, in January. A calf injury kept him out of the limited-overs legs of both the Zimbabwe and South Africa series and he did not get the chance to bat for Central Districts this past weekend because his side fielded first. He admitted that his first innings in over a month will be an anxious one. "I'll be a bit nervous," he said, "but a good nervous."

New Zealand were beaten 3-0 by South Africa in the one-day series but Taylor asked the team to draw on their Test form, which includes a win in Australia this summer. "It was disappointing to lose the [ODI] series, but what will be remembered in 20 or 30 years' time is how we play in this Test series. Test cricket is the ultimate. I guess after the win in Hobart we've captured the imagination of the country and we want to try and build on that."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    Looking forward to this series even though NZ should get smoked.... We have nothing to loose and everything to gain after the recent games against SA. If SA draw the test series it'll be a big failure for them but if we do it'll be a great result. End of the day SA are just a better team with plenty of awesome talent. I can live with losing to a team like this and it is expected but the pressure must surely be on SA to perform. We'll just be hoping to survive 5 days but we bet Aussie in Aussie and I know that was a weak Aussie team but we don't win many tests so hopefully that confidence with the return of Vets and Taylor will add something. If we get the right conditions our bowlers will be a big handful as well, not the quickets but good swing bowlers so that'll even that aspect out a bit.

  • Kevin on March 6, 2012, 21:15 GMT

    NZ victory at Hobart seems like a distant memory. Of course anything is possible, which is why we actually watch the game. But I'm bracing myself for a very weak performance by NZ against SA. Ross Taylor can talk positive all he likes, but lets see what has happened in five days time. To all the other NZ supporters out there, remember; blessed are they that expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed!!

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    Its amazing how philandar overshadowed the best bowler in the earth at this moment. I think Steyn will do far more damage in nz condition than philandar,nz wont be able to handle swing at high pace.

  • mukesh on March 6, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Brave words by ross taylor , but SA are the definite favorites , expecting a few good knocks by kane williamson though..loved his batting in India..

  • sasmit on March 6, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    any guesses fro the highest wicket takers and run scores guys? my money is on philander and de villers.

  • Tom on March 6, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    NZ rarely field teams packed with the sort of big-name players that South Africa currently boast, but in their home conditions they're a challenging proposition for any visiting team. The Hobart test was played on a wicket more typical of NZ than Australia, and if conditions are conducive to seam and swing as expected we could see a low-scoring series. And low-scoring series inevitably reduce the margins between victory and defeat, meaning scrappy half-centuries and lower-order cameos (Kiwi specialities) can swing games. RSA are the unbackable favourites but I'm not expecting everything to go the Proteas' way in this series.

  • A.J on March 6, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    I'll Taylor one thing he's actually a really decent batsman and could become world class with time.

  • Tony on March 6, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    You cant very well expect him to come out and announce that he agrees that the Kiwis will be obliterated and should actually concede the series. Fact is that if SA dont win 3/0, they will have disappointed many. The press are doung a jood job of upping the ante and putting pressure of expectation on the team. Difference is that I think this team can handle it whereas before there were chinks in the team. NZ are a decent side with some excellent scrappers. I think there will be some good performances from the Kiwi ranks during the series, but to beat SA, it will take more than one or two highlights, and more of an entire team effort. NZ are capable of an upset, though it would be a surprise.

    Good luck to both teams and lets hope for no weather delays.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    I think Taylor is saying this to hide the fear he is currently having. its not a player-to-player comparison which is scary but the batting and bowling supporting each other.SA have that and a lot of it.its hard to beat SA i can tell need to out-bowl and out-run them.

  • Dummy4 on March 6, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    Nkosenhle: of course you are right. But do not forget the power of the Phantom.

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