New Zealand news January 22, 2013

Taylor set to return to competitive cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor's self-imposed exile from competitive cricket is set to come to an end this week when he turns out for Central Districts in the Plunket Shield, New Zealand's first-class competition.

Taylor was removed from the New Zealand captaincy in all formats in December and replaced by Brendon McCullum, who had the backing of the coach, Mike Hesson. Taylor decided to take time off from the game because of the manner in which he was ousted, which led New Zealand Cricket to issue an apology for the breakdown in communication within the management.

New Zealand's home series against England begins early next month, and the Plunket Shield match allows Taylor time in the middle before that contest. Taylor had skipped New Zealand's ongoing tour of South Africa but had hinted he wanted to return against England.

Central Districts coach Alan Hunt was thrilled to have Taylor's experience in the side after a dismal run in the HRV Cup, the Twenty20 competition. "Obviously when you get a world-class player coming into the side, you're never going to turn that down," Hunt told Fairfax Media. "I'm pleased to have him. We can help him get back on the cricket horse and get on with it."

Besides Taylor, New Zealand are also missing the services of Jesse Ryder who hasn't played for the national side in nearly a year. Ryder, too, has hinted at a return next month, raising the possibility of the struggling New Zealand side welcoming back two of their most talented batsmen for the England series.