Taylor not certain for Abu Dhabi Test
New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor has said he is not a certain starter for the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, beginning on November 9, because of a right calf strain. Taylor sustained the injury on September 23 and exacerbated it when he began running again, forcing him to miss the ODI series against South Africa at home, which New Zealand lost 0-2.
''I feel okay but on Tuesday I was running at 75-80%. It's a little bit strange travelling on a tour when you're not 100% and hoping to get the other 20% when you're away,'' Taylor told Dominion Post. ''I've been able to bat over the last two weeks and felt it a couple of times but nothing major. It's probably going to be a push to play that warm-up game [on Monday], and see how they [medical staff] think it's going and whether it's good enough to play that first Test.''
New Zealand have departed for the UAE and they begin their tour with a three-day game against Pakistan A in Sharjah, from November 3. Without Taylor and Kane Williamson, who was also injured, New Zealand struggled against South Africa and they are likely to be tested further in conditions that are vastly different to those at home. Taylor said his preparation for the series against Pakistan, who rely heavily on spin, was not ideal.
''I haven't hit as many balls as I would like,'' Taylor said. ''Over the next little while I'm trying to cram it in. I haven't faced a lot of spin lately; there's not too many spinners going around in New Zealand in the nets. I guess experience and the mental side of the game will come into it a bit more. It's a tough tour and it's probably not ideal preparation for me; I only watched the last day of the Test [Pakistan v Australia] and it was spinning sideways.''