ENG vs NZ – 2021 – Ross Taylor

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Thirteen years since his first Test tour of England, he relishes another opportunity to dominate in the country

Right after his first IPL stint in 2008, where he struck at nearly 184, Ross Taylor went on his first international tour of England and cracked 154 not out off merely 176 balls in the Manchester Test. Daniel Vettori was New Zealand’s captain back then and Chris Martin was still an active cricketer. Thirteen years later, Taylor, now 37, looked back on his first tour and looked ahead to his seventh tour of England.

“It was a strange time,” Taylor recalled at Auckland airport. “I guess a lot of Black Caps were retired and I don’t think I’ve batted at four [before]. So, that was the first time that I batted at four in Test cricket. Being one of the senior batsmen after five Tests was probably something strange.

“Hundred-odd Tests later, [England is] still a great place to play cricket – probably one of the best tours to go on. Obviously being in a bubble is going to be a bit strange. Thirteen years ago, fond memories of that tour and still to date one of the best innings I’ve played in Manchester in the second Test.”

Taylor had sustained a calf strain earlier this month when he was training at the high performance centre in Lincoln. Taylor had also recently suffered a hamstring injury, which disrupted the end of his home summer, but he was confident of his fitness in the lead-up to the two Tests against England and the following World Test Championship (WTC) final against India.

“Obviously you don’t want to have those little niggles and this [calf] niggle came about trying to get the hamstring right,” he said. “It’s part and parcel of being an international cricketer.

“More is made of it when you get older. If you get a calf or a hamstring injury at 32, nothing’s made of it, but when you’re 37, there’s a few more headlines, but it is what it is, and I’m comfortable with where I’m at.”