OPINION: Ross Taylor, according to someone
well-acquainted with the New Zealand captaincy brouhaha, is
"crushed" by his treatment.
Understandably so, too.
Is his decision to take a complete break during the South
African tour wise? Should he have dug deep and retained the
test captaincy which was offered to him by coach Mike Hesson,
His actions are an entirely human reaction to having been put
in an appalling situation.
Let's be clear. Hesson is fully entitled to want the captain
of his choice. His position stands or falls on the
performance of the New Zealand team. If he believes the
team's best chance of improving its dire international
reputation, and ranking is by changing the man at the top,
But timing in sport, as in life, is everything. What would
possess a coach to suggest his captain should stand aside
before the start of a test series overseas?
Sure, there's little time between tours right now. But even
so, to do it in that manner raises a major question mark over
Hesson's man management skills.
It is to Taylor's immense credit that he went out and hit 142
and 74 to help set up a 167-run win in Colombo. Imagine the
personal stress he must have been feeling. Is that the
behaviour of a man unsuited to big challenges?
Certainly New Zealand's test record under Taylor was poor. Is
that entirely his fault? Of course not. Is Brendon McCullum
going to significantly rectify that in South Africa? Highly
Only a supreme optimist would back New Zealand to fully
extend, or dare one suggest, beat the world's No 1 outfit.
So the likelihood is that New Zealand will return from their
first trip away on McCullum's watch seriously in the red.
What say England give New Zealand a duffing here in
February-March. How will McCullum's stock be then?
This is not a slap at McCullum, who doubtless will approach
the daunting task with a spring in his step; just that
there's no certainty that things will markedly change with a
different player wearing the armband.
Stephen Fleming captained New Zealand with distinction from
1997 to 2006. Ask his teammates how long it took before he
became the leader his reputation now commands. It didn't
Which raises the question of whether Taylor really had a fair
crack. Thirteen tests? Okay, some bad defeats along the way,
plus two highly meritorious overseas wins.
Should he have made the best of a mess and gone to South
Africa, in whatever capacity? In cricket terms yes. In human
terms, his decision is entirely understandable.
When he returns against England, if he divorces himself from
his teammates and concentrates simply on scoring runs and
taking catches, it too would be understandable.
Taylor has always appealed as a decent man, possibly not
ideally suited in all respects to the job. But there's ways
and means to make change. People should be treated with
Whichever way NZC try to slice it, there's been little shown
- By David Leggat of the New Zealand