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Ross Taylor named New Zealand captain

Brydon Coverdale

June 21, 2011

Comments: 48 | Text size: A | A

Ross Taylor speaks at a press conference where he was announced as New Zealand's captain, Auckland, June 21, 2011
New Zealand Cricket's powerbrokers are confident the soft-spoken Ross Taylor will make a fine captain © Getty Images

Ross Taylor's prolific run-scoring during his time as New Zealand's stand-in captain was a major factor in him beating Brendon McCullum for the full-time job. Taylor has been named as the captain in all three formats and the New Zealand Cricket (NZC) hierarchy believes he will operate in a similar style to his predecessor Daniel Vettori, who led by example, with minimal fuss.

Taylor, 27, was preferred over McCullum after being interviewed by a three-man panel consisting of the coach John Wright, the director of cricket John Buchanan and the acting national selection manager Mark Greatbatch. The decision took nearly three months following the side's return from the World Cup, where Vettori stepped down after the semi-final loss to Sri Lanka, and a vice-captain is unlikely to be named until the squad to tour Zimbabwe in September is announced.

Greatbatch said Taylor had won out in part due to his success in as captain, having led the side to six victories from 14 ODIs and Twenty20s, compared to McCullum's two wins from nine games in charge. Taylor has also batted well while at the helm, averaging 46.45 across both formats, while McCullum's mark as captain is 26.22.

"They're both great Kiwis and good lads who have played for their country for a long time now," Greatbatch told Radio Sport. "We had to make a tough decision and we've done that. I'm sure Ross will lead his country well. They were both very good candidiates. They've both had experience as vice-captain under Dan.

"Both by nature are very good tactically and aggressive characters. Brendon might show it a bit more than Ross, but Ross is very competitive. He's had the recent experience. He beat Australia and Pakistan recently as captain of New Zealand. He's a good listener. His own game has improved as captain. He's got a better record as captain than as a player. Those sorts of things were taken into consideration."

It will be a tough ask following the popular Vettori, who at one point was a selector as well as captain and the team's best player. However, Greatbatch said Taylor was likely to lead in a similar manner to Vettori - from the front, with more emphasis on leading by example than delivering fire-and-brimstone motivational speeches.

"He wasn't that forceful to the players," Greatbatch said of Vettori. "From his own form himself as a player he demanded excellence, because he was a pretty useful performer worldwide for us. I think Ross will be similar. He'll be looking for his own game to be tip-top as often as he can, to be consistent. That to me is the biggest way to lead. If a captain can lead from the front with his own performance, then a lot of people follow."

Taylor conceded that he was "very quiet" and preferred to speak with individuals rather than larger groups, but said he was confident he could steer the side in the right direction. Taylor led the New Zealanders twice at the World Cup, where they went within one victory of making the final, and he said his challenge was to help them perform to a similar level in Test cricket.

"I was very happy with the way we played in the World Cup and the fighting spirit we showed," Taylor said. "We've been very inconsistent in the Test arena and we probably haven't played as well as we would have liked. Each individual has to step up and commit to training hard and working hard as a team. We need to bat long periods of time with the bat and get 20 wickets. If we don't do those two things very well then we're going to struggle.

"Test cricket is still the ultimate for me. I look forward to playing Test cricket. Some other people may differ, but for me Test cricket is still the ultimate and where I want to get the most out of myself and the team. Once that happens, one-day cricket and Twenty20 is also in there as well."

Taylor learnt of NZC's decision while he was making preparations for his upcoming wedding, and he described it as "a great honour" to be installed as the captain. He said he was also hoping that his promotion might encourage more young players from Polynesian and Maori backgrounds to take up cricket.

"I missed the phone call from John Buchanan," he said. "I was trying to pick wedding songs for this coming Saturday. I had the music going a bit too loud. When it came through my partner was very happy and the first phone call was to Mum and Dad.

"I'm very proud of my Samoan heritage," he added. "With this role, not only playing for New Zealand but captaining, hopefully I can inspire some more Polynesians and Maoris to this game of cricket. They're very talented athletes and I'm sure it's an untapped market. You never know, in ten years' time there could be a few more."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (June 23, 2011, 20:07 GMT)

@Gagg: Thanks for the reply. You learn something everyday! :)

Posted by Ahsan_Shere on (June 23, 2011, 1:55 GMT)

Congrats Ross! Once New Zealand choose a captain they stick to him Fleming captained almost 10 years. Vettori was not even sacked after 4-0 thrashing at the hands of minnows Bangladesh. So, I see you as a New Zealand captain for the next decade or so.

Posted by StevieS on (June 22, 2011, 14:05 GMT)

SRT_GENIUS there are more Samoans in NZ than Samoa so no need for him to go there to promote it. kilikiti is very popular amoungst Samoans, it is a form of cricket but cricket itself isn't very popular.

Posted by muski on (June 22, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

Taylor will NOT make a difference to Kiwi Cricket. Now doubt he is a talented and charismatic guy. However, the team is going the Windies way- One way- right under competing with Bangladesh. They have too many bits and pieces cricketers to really make an impact on Top Test Teams. Hats off to Vettori. He reminds me of Lara. Inspite of ordinary mortals around him, match after match for all these years he has put his best foot forward without getting frustrated. World cricket will miss you Dan- All the best to you.

Posted by SRT_GENIUS on (June 22, 2011, 2:34 GMT)

@Freddie Woodworth : Didn't realize Ross was part Samoan (I thought Maori). Good to know. Just curious- how popular is cricket in Samoa ? I would imagine they can produe fast bowlers by dozen. Maybe they can invite Ross to promote cricket in Samoa ?

Posted by adamgilchrist14 on (June 21, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

Daniel Vettori is much better option in my opinion because he is more experienced. It is like the Australian selection how Ricky Ponting was more older than Clarkey

Posted by howizzat on (June 21, 2011, 18:52 GMT)

Ross Taylor is best choice, the NZ management has made. Mr. Taylor can sticth the team well to reach new highs. Brendon also will benifit from this as he can concentrate on his batting and bat more freely. Well done NZ. Hats off to you.

Posted by yuva19 on (June 21, 2011, 18:27 GMT)

NZC is cornered they really dont have ny other option.Except Dan all NZ players r inconsistent, consistency really matters in test arena.

Posted by StevieS on (June 21, 2011, 17:32 GMT)

And when are we going to replace Justin Vaughn? Any other profession he would of got the sack years ago.

Posted by K.A.K on (June 21, 2011, 15:51 GMT)

Way to go! Now go out and play more cricket NZ.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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