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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

ODI loss to India came at the right time for New Zealand - Ross Taylor

New Zealand’s most experienced cricketer Ross Taylor speaks about the 2019 World Cup being his last, how an eye operation gave him a second lease, not setting a retirement date from international cricket and missing the Indian Premier League.

cricket Updated: Feb 12, 2019 14:11 IST
Chetan Narula
Chetan Narula
Auckland
New Zealand's Ross Taylor is pictured during the first one-day international (ODI) cricket match between New Zealand and India at McLean Park in Napier on January 23, 2019
New Zealand's Ross Taylor is pictured during the first one-day international (ODI) cricket match between New Zealand and India at McLean Park in Napier on January 23, 2019(AFP)
         

New Zealand’s most experienced cricketer Ross Taylor speaks about the 2019 World Cup being his last, how an eye operation gave him a second lease, not setting a retirement date from international cricket and missing the Indian Premier League.

Excerpts

Q: New Zealand lost 4-1 in the ODI series to India. Is this a shock before the World Cup?

A: A better team beat us. When you are completely outplayed, there are positives but it came at the right time because now we know we have a few areas to address before the World Cup. Doing better against a team like India might have papered over it and now we feel if we can improve, we can be really competitive in England.

Q: India play New Zealand in Nottingham on June 13. Will your county experience last year be of advantage?

A: It is definitely an advantage but you still have to play well. It was in my mind when I went to play County cricket, not just at Nottingham, but a lot of other grounds where we will be playing in the World Cup. There are a lot of little differences at English grounds and it gives you a bit of advantage having played there.

Q: You have been in great form lately. Can you say how the eye operation helped you get a second wind?

A: I had a pterygium on my left eye because of exposure to sun and wind in New Zealand. I couldn’t see the ball in dark, didn’t like batting in day-night games and hated fielding under lights. I couldn’t see the ball in the 2015 Gabba Test. But I took some eye drops and got 290 in the next match (laughs). Specialists told me to get operated, and I had training session two weeks after (the operation). I could see the ball swinging from the hand, which I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Also, over time I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge, which helps me sum up the situation better. I have been happy with my form. Sometimes the team doesn’t do well (against India), and it can affect your performance as well. I am sure it did in some respect, but it was nice to have a couple of contributions.

Q: How tough is it to maintain form leading to a World Cup?

A: Well, there is a World Cup every four years, so you want to have a big push towards that. I have put emphasis on my game. It will probably be my last World Cup so I want to do as well as possible.

Q: Your thoughts on the changed World Cup format?

A: I am very excited about this World Cup format. In bilateral ODIs, teams can figure you out but in a World Cup like this, you are playing a different team each day, so you can be on top of your game. There are no minnows really, so every game will be a good one. In the previous formats, sometimes you played a tough team and have 4-5 days off, then play a minnow and you might not even get to bat. So it can be 10-12 days off. I like this format and think it will be good — 1992 was like that. England does have a bit of weather, so luck will play a part as well.

Q: You are among the top scorers for New Zealand across formats. Are you satisfied with what you have achieved so far?

A: The day you are satisfied is the day you need to retire, I think. There are still things I would like to achieve. I joke a little bit that I am old because I am the oldest in this team. But I still feel young and have still got a few years to contribute to New Zealand cricket. I love playing for my country and I feel I can still get better as a player. The day I don’t feel that I will have to retire. I want to score a few more runs and wins, and give my best.

Q: You spoke about this being the last World Cup. What else is left?

A: Test cricket is still high on my priorities. I would like to play 100 Tests. New Zealand hasn’t played a Boxing Day Test in Australia since the 1980s, so there are quite a few things I would like to hang around for. At the same time, you don’t want to do just that and want to be playing an active role in the team. I still have a desire to go on, so no date or timeframe yet.

Q: You have represented quite a few franchises in the IPL. What was your biggest highlight there?

A: I really loved playing with international players and Indian domestic players in the same team. Learning from them has helped narrow the gap with New Zealand cricket. We were little brothers to teams like India, South Africa and Australia, but we are a lot closer on the field now in terms of performance.

Cricket is India’s religion and to experience that, and for the local fans to embrace me as their own, is something I will never forget. Going out to a packed Chinnaswamy to chants of ‘Taylor Taylor’… I had family there. They will never forget it and I definitely won’t. I do miss it at times, but playing time in the IPL for me is gone.

Q: Brendon McCullum retired early to play T20 franchise cricket. Does that tempt you?

A: I don’t think I will retire earlier from international cricket just to go and do the T20 circuit because I love playing for New Zealand. Playing for a different franchise every month is not something that appeals to me as much as playing in front of family and friends here in New Zealand.

First Published: Feb 12, 2019 14:11 IST