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Taylor takes notes from 'aggressive' captain Warne

Brydon Coverdale

June 23, 2011

Comments: 18 | Text size: A | A

Ross Taylor poses for the cameras after being appointed New Zealand captain, Auckland, June 21, 2011
Ross Taylor wants to instil a winning mindset in the New Zealand team © Getty Images
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Shane Warne will be a source of captaincy inspiration for Ross Taylor as he aims to instil a winning mindset in his New Zealand side. Taylor conceded past New Zealand teams have sometimes felt that a draw was as good as a victory, and that's an attitude he wants to change after being handed the leadership this week.

The drawn-out process to find Daniel Vettori's successor took nearly three months, as New Zealand Cricket waited for Taylor and the other contender, Brendon McCullum, to return home from the IPL. But it was in India that Taylor worked under the captaincy of Warne at the Rajasthan Royals, and he said he was inspired by the way Warne handled his men and never gave up.

"Warnie is one of the most aggressive captains. One of the things I learnt from Warnie and admired about him was trying to get the best out of the team and individuals, and just winning from anywhere," Taylor told ESPNcricinfo this week. "If you have a mindset of winning from any situation then more often than not those tight games will go your way."

And that's an attitude that hasn't always been present in New Zealand teams of recent years. They have won only two of their past 21 Tests, a stretch that goes back to October 2008, and during that time their only victories came against Bangladesh in Hamilton and Pakistan in Dunedin. It's nearly a decade since New Zealand have won a Test away from home against anyone but Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

"I think sometimes we probably did feel that way [that a draw was as good as a win," Taylor said. "The way Test cricket is going there are not a lot of draws these days. The only time there are draws are if the wicket is really flat or if the weather plays a part. More often than not, the way Test cricket is played, Tests are won more often than not. We need to have that mindset. If we go out there just to draw series then we're going to get ourselves into trouble. If we go out there to win, it's a nice positive mindset to have."

The good thing for New Zealand is that two of their next three Test series are against Zimbabwe, who are returning to the five-day format after six years of self-imposed exile. That gives Taylor four winnable Tests within his first year in the job, and after playing Australia and South Africa they next year head to the Caribbean, where they won the series on their last tour in 2002.

The schedule is encouraging, at a time when New Zealand are starting afresh, with a new captain, a recently-installed coach, John Wright, a revamped selection process, and a high-performance system now being overhauled by John Buchanan. The aim is to lift the side from their current position of eighth on the ICC Test rankings table, above only Bangladesh.

"We've got some big series coming up," Taylor said. "We go to Zimbabwe, then to Australia, then Zimbabwe come here, then we've got South Africa here, then we go to the Caribbean after that. We're eighth in the Test rankings. If we can be somewhere from fourth to sixth in 12 months I think that would be a realistic goal. That's something I think we can attain in the next 12 to 18 months.

"The ultimate is to sit up at No. 1 or 2 and it's not that long ago, probably at the start of my career we weren't too far away from that. But we're down the bottom and in some ways that's probably a nice thing - the only way to go from here is upwards. We've got some big series coming up, against Australia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. If we play like we know we can play on a more consistent basis then I'm sure we'll go up those rankings."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (June 24, 2011, 14:22 GMT)

it hasnt changed in 20 yrs...n it will never change going forward...also, i m referring to cricket not rugby....as nz captain said in 1992, if they dont win the world cup in 1992 with a team nz had, they would never win the world cup ever...

Posted by vj3478 on (June 23, 2011, 13:56 GMT)

NZ is making all good moves but why have Buchanan who wants to be heard all the time and everything needs to go his way? Hope he doesn't have a bigger influence on Ross/team and well, all the best Ross

Posted by gothetaniwha on (June 23, 2011, 12:57 GMT)

Hey Joshua Adam Milne 150 +

Posted by   on (June 23, 2011, 11:56 GMT)

He must have learnt a lot from players like Rahul Dravid, Shane Warne & Anil Kumble while sharing dressing room with them in IPL Hope he has learnt a lesson or 2 about consistency in performance.

Posted by   on (June 23, 2011, 10:31 GMT)

Since when have New Zealand been anywhere near looking like becoming 1 or 2 in the test rankings? You're dreaming Taylor mate. I will admit Taylor is a good player but the 'great' Daniel Vettori got NZ cricket into a very bad situation with Tests. Yeah he may might be a pretty good spinner but his bowling style exactly reflects what this article is saying abou thet draw-is-as-as-good-as-a-win mindset. He bowls to the legside of the batsman in order to prevent runs but only to take the occasional wicket. It's only when tail-enders come in that he takes wickets. If New Zealand are going to move up in the rankings then they need to find a bowler who can bowl 145-150 KPH. 130 KPH just doesn't cut it in test cricket anymore. Their batsmen also need to learn to leave the ball more. Lastly, they need to find a spinner who can turn the ball and none of their current spinners can do this very well. Personally I think this Zimbabwe series is going to be close than most of us think.

Posted by Capitalist_Cricketer on (June 23, 2011, 9:57 GMT)

Good luck to team NZ.. The cricket club is a very small club and on the road to get even smaller due to various reasons. NZ over the years have had some individual greats but collectively and consistently they never clicked. Maybe the time has come ?

Posted by anver777 on (June 23, 2011, 9:56 GMT)

Since Warne is out of the IPL now & if Ross captains RR next edition........then this captain's role may help him for IPL matches as well...........

Posted by   on (June 23, 2011, 9:00 GMT)

Good onya Ross, best of luck!!

Posted by ravi_hari on (June 23, 2011, 8:15 GMT)

Good to see Taylor speak this way. It looks like he is eager to learn and take a leaf out of some great leaders for the important position he has been elevated to. As an aggressive batsman his outlook would be to dominate. If you look at most NZ captains, they have been mostly mild. Vettori looked more like a professor than a cricketer. He led the team to strong positions many-a-time but failed to inspire them to convert the same to victories. In fact Taylor should have been groomed for the job through the One-day route. Its never too late and Taylor should now focus on building the team for wins. Its heartening to read that he takes inspiration from Warne. In the past 4 seasons Warne has shown what an impact an aggressive captain can do on the team. In fact Taylor should take inspiration from people like Dhoni, Strauss, etc.also who are contemporaries and are extremely successful leaders. A piece of advise for Taylor- dont forget batting while leading! Hari Ravi

Posted by   on (June 23, 2011, 8:13 GMT)

Shahnawaz Shaikh stop referring to NZ rugby , we're talking cricket here.

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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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