Former NZ cricketer Bruce Taylor dies

Bruce Taylor on his way to 124 in the first test against the West Indies. Photo: Herald Archive
Bruce Taylor on his way to 124 in the first test against the West Indies. Photo: Herald Archive
Bruce Taylor, one of New Zealand cricket's great all-rounders, has passed away at age 77.

Taylor played 30 tests for New Zealand - the most notable being his first against India in 1965, where he hit 105 before taking 5-86. 56 years on, Taylor remains the only player in test cricket history to notch a century and take a five-wicket bag on debut.

He followed it up with another five-wicket bag in his second test, and finished his career with 111 test wickets - 12th all-time for New Zealand - at a sterling average of 26.6. His best figures - 7-74 against the West Indies - remains the ninth-best return by a New Zealand bowler.

Taylor also scored a second century, with a career-best 124 against the West Indies in 1969. His ton came off just 83 balls, and stood as New Zealand's fastest test century for 36 years.

His aggressive style would have suited modern-day cricket, but his retirement in 1973 came just as one-dayers were introduced, with Taylor playing only two ODIs for New Zealand.

Later in life, Taylor struggled with health issues, having a leg amputated in 2016 to fight gangrene, while he served a year in jail in 1993-94 after pleading guilty to 22 fraud charges stemming from taking more than $368,000 from Dunedin's John McGlashan College.

However, he maintained support from the cricket community, having been a national and provincial selector, and received valuable support from the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, who provided a mobility scooter after his amputation.

New Zealand Cricket confirmed Taylor's death, calling him "a force of nature".

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