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October 31, 2011
Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, has said Jesse Ryder could be forced to give up bowling and play as a specialist batsman, given how prone he is to injury. Ryder was ruled out of New Zealand's one-off Test against Zimbabwe, which begins in Bulawayo on November 1, because of a calf strain he picked up while bowling in a warm-up game.
"It [such a decision] is not far away," Taylor told Radio Sport. "With the no-runner rule in all forms, it [Ryder's fitness] becomes an issue. His track record [with injuries] has been average to say the least, but he's still one of our best players and we've got to try and keep him on the park as much as possible.
"As captain I want Jesse to bowl as well, but I'd rather Jesse bat and score a lot of runs than bowl and get injured."
Ryder missed the ODI-leg of the India tour in November 2010 as well after straining his calf muscle. Previously, he had picked up injuries to his elbow, groin and abductor muscle.
Apart from Ryder, New Zealand were also missing Tim Southee and Kyle Mills for the Bulawayo Test due to injury, and Andy McKay is also ill. However, they are bolstered by the addition of former captain Daniel Vettori to the squad. Taylor, who is playing his first Test as full-time captain, said he would use Vettori's vast experience.
"I'd be stupid and naive not to seek a guy who's played 100 Tests and is the former captain," Taylor said. "I've been in his ear a lot and getting a feel for what he thinks [in the build-up to the Test], and Brendon McCullum also has been outstanding."
Taylor, who took over the New Zealand captaincy in June, said he was still coming to terms with the demands of the job. "I'm still getting to grips with it, still getting to know the players a bit better, developing a relationship with John Wright [the coach] and the management, and getting to know my style [of captaincy] as well.
"It was a little bit of a struggle early on to be honest. It's totally different captaining the team on a one-off basis as vice-captain, and taking over the team full stop. But I've thoroughly enjoyed it. 'Struggle' is probably not the right word to use - it just takes adjusting to. Like anything it's not going to be smooth sailing the whole way, but it's been really good."
New Zealand were clinical in the first four limited-overs games in Harare but slipped up in the last match in Bulawayo, where Zimbabwe chased 329.
"That one-day game was [played in] 42 degrees [Celsius heat], and our bowlers struggled to bowl longer than three- or four-over spells," Taylor said. "We're going to have to try and get a little bit more out of our bowlers in terms of spells [during the Test]."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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