Ross Taylor. Photo by Reuters
As the New Zealand cricket captaincy fiasco bubbled to a
boiling point today, the only man to emerge with his
credibility intact was deposed skipper Ross Taylor.
Taylor may no longer be the leader when he returns to the
Black Caps after his self-imposed exile, but he will enjoy a
swell of public support.
After keeping his counsel during a catastrophic week for New
Zealand Cricket, Taylor told his side of the story today and
there is no doubting it is a tale deserving sympathy.
In a statement - released through a public relations company
and not NZC - Taylor described the decision to dump him as
the limited overs captain as "distressing'' and
But Taylor, who confirmed he turned down the chance to remain
as test captain, wished successor Brendon McCullum well and
said he was determined to contribute to the team in the
future, whoever was in charge.
NZC barely deserve his services after the way it treated him.
The organisation's handling of the affair was negligent at
best, while a lack of communication from coach Mike Hesson
cost the Black Caps their best batsman for the forthcoming
tour of world No 1 South Africa.
Hesson today insisted he always intended to have different
skippers for different forms, but the coach admitted that
fact was not made clear to Taylor.
Having seemingly been stripped of his stewardship, then
having seen the saga played out in the media this week while
NZC remained silent, it is no wonder Taylor feels he couldn't
contribute 100 per cent to the team at this point in time.
In fact, with Hesson's calls to Taylor this week going
unreturned, it is difficult to see how the pair can work
together when Taylor does want to return.
NZC chief executive David White was adamant Taylor would be
available for this summer's home series against England, but
Taylor's statement said simply he would return when the time
Whether that is a time with Hesson no longer at the helm is
now the burning question. The former Otago coach can be
accused of agitating throughout his brief Black Caps tenure
for McCullum, with whom he has a close relationship, to take
the reins of the team.
Taylor may have been told his days as captain were numbered
before the recent test series against Sri Lanka, but Hesson
had hardly given Taylor a vote of confidence during the tour
of India, Hesson's first in charge, or the Twenty20 World Cup
The captaincy issue - which had previously prompted a reality
show-style showdown between Taylor and McCullum when Dan
Vettori stepped aside - was allowed to fester as the Black
Caps continued to struggle on the field.
White said those struggles were at the heart of Hesson's
decision to remove Taylor as captain in the shorter forms,
but it would be naive to suggest the same side playing under
McCullum's leadership would have performed any better.
This team's problems run significantly deeper than field
placements and bowling changes. And McCullum will learn that
the hard way during this month's series against South Africa.
If results fail to improve under the new regime, Hesson and
White must surely be the next men whose jobs are called into
question. Hesson has been in his role for just five months
and White is also new to the scene, but Taylor was in charge
of the side for a mere 18 months before he was dumped.
And given the unceremonious way that occurred, the heat on
Hesson and his employers will now be at an all-time high.