Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor
March 08, 1984, Lower Hutt, Wellington
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Middle order batter
Ross Taylor has been a fulcrum of New Zealand's batting across formats for more than 10 years, a period that has brought consistent Test success, especially on home soil, and the appearance in consecutive World Cup finals. In the mid-2000s, he was just what New Zealand need in the wake of the mass of departures from their batting line-up: an aggressive top-order batsman capable of taking up the challenge to world-class attacks. In only his third ODI, Taylor hammered a superb 128 against Sri Lanka at Napier in 2006 and he followed it up with 84 at better than a run a ball in his first ODI outside New Zealand, at Hobart against Australia in January 2007. He scores heavily from the pull and from slog-sweeping the spinners (and sometimes the quicks).
Given New Zealand's lack of Tests it wasn't until the 2007-08 tour of South Africa that Taylor made his debut and he struggled against the extra bounce. Back at home he was dropped against Bangladesh, but returned in style against England with his maiden century, 120, at Hamilton and then followed that with a memorable 154 at Old Trafford. A leadership role wasn't too far away and he was named captain for the tri-series in Sri Lanka in 2010 after Vettori and McCullum opted out.
However, Taylor's two-year captaincy stint ended in controversy when it emerged that he and Mike Hesson, the coach who took over from John Wright, didn't have a comfortable relationship. During Taylor's 13-Test captaincy stint New Zealand notched up rare wins in Australia and Sri Lanka, but immediately after the Sri Lanka tour he stepped down in controversial circumstances, as Brendon McCullum was named captain in all formats. After deciding not to tour South Africa, he returned for New Zealand's home series against England, admitting that his relationship with Hesson was still a "work in progress".
While taking time accept the decision, Taylor quickly reasserted his importance to the middle order and produced a prolific run of form in 2013 with 495 runs in five innings in a three-match Test series against West Indies. In one-day cricket he formed what McCullum would often call 'the best three-four punch in world cricket' alongside Williamson as New Zealand built towards the home World Cup of 2015. A year before the tournament he scored three ODI hundreds in three innings against India and Pakistan. He was consistent rather than prolific at the World Cup, but afterwards scored three hundreds in five innings against England and Zimbabwe.
Back in Test cricket, a career-best 290 came against Australia at the WACA in late 2015 and in 2019 added a third double century to his tally with 200 against Bangladesh.
Although the body started to cause some issues, he remain key to the one-day side as they began the next four-year cycle when Williamson took over the captaincy from McCullum. One of his finest innings came against England, in Dunedin, in 2018 when he was batting on one leg due to injury and scored an unbeaten 181 to a big chase. At the 2019 World Cup he was key to New Zealand's impressive semi-final victory over India with a fine half-century in tricky conditions.
Brydon Coverdale and ESPNcricinfo staff
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