When Ross Taylor arrived in international cricket, T20 cricket was a brand new phenomenon, Kane Williamson hadn’t yet risen as an international star, none had even heard about a Pink ball Test and New Zealand hadn’t played a World Cup final, let alone being the famous runner’s up.
As Ross Taylor brings up his 7000th run in Cricket’s most obdurate and respected format, the sport has accepted a brand new classification in the form of T20s, Williamson is the leader one can’t imagine the Blackcaps without, and New Zealand has twice reached the World Cup finals, their latest appearance perhaps being the most heartening one in the history of ODI cricket’s most premier competitions.
Ross Taylor’s Test Record
It was 2007 when Ross Taylor, who’s still 35 (and still a few years at arm’s length from Test retirement) burst out on the five-day scene. The common stars in the side he cohabited were the likes of Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Stephen Fleming, and Shane Bond. Today, as he shines across the world as the highest-run maker for New Zealand in Test Cricket, a generation of stars have walked into the sunset with Williamson being the strong persisting factor.
In that regard, it may not be inaccurate or irrational to suggest that while talents have come and gone, Ross Taylor has stuck around. And while he’s done that ever so quietly and gracefully, he has made it count. Ross Taylor may not be the instant graphic representation of the image that strikes your mind when you utter the phrase: batting superstar.
He may not have the nonchalance of a Mark Waugh, the appeal of a McCullum, or the finesse of a Jayawardene. But Ross Taylor has exhibited the consistency of a rare kind that has allowed him to play well into his 30s, having started when he was only a 23-year-old.
The key to Ross Taylor’s Test record and success
At a time where the likes of both Brendon McCullum and Stephen Fleming played well into their cricketing peak, often batting with waning powers, going past 100 Tests, Ross Taylor, who’s still one shy of reaching the famous triple numbers, has already notched up perhaps the record everyone is talking about: most runs scored by a Kiwi batsman.
When he was braving a bevy of fast-paced scorchers by an undoubtedly remarkable Australian pack, including- Pattinson, Starc, and Cummins- he went past his famous compatriot Stephen Fleming’s mark.
Ross Taylor’s Test record now boasts of a fantastically collected and determinedly scored 7174 Test runs, that’s 2 more than former captain Fleming.
While one of the peaks of Ross Taylor’s Test record coincided with the ignominy of his team facing another defeat, this time at the Sydney Cricket Ground, it couldn’t have come against a more appropriate opponent, one would think.
From Jo’burg to Perth, Kingston to Dhaka, Mohali to Brisbane, the Wellington-born New Zealander has exhibited might and handsomely so against some of the trickiest and most cunning bowlers. In a career that’s spanned well over a decade and is still looking in great shape, having churned out 19 Test hundreds, 10 more than Fleming’s tally and 7 more than McCullum’s, Ross Taylor’s Test career underlines his consistency and willingness to deliver for a side that’s about as loved as it is respected.
If today you find yourself an ardent Kiwi cricket lover, it could possibly not only be thanks to the panache of a McCullum, the brute pace of a Boult or the grace of Williamson alone.
Look around a young team that’s made a name for playing inspirationally and you’d realize Ross Taylor is the constant binding factor; more like a glue that brings everyone together, the lender of experience to the composition of New Zealand’s flair.
That told, one can’t wait to anticipate the moment when one of New Zealand’s most famous sons will feature in his 100th Test, one against another lanky opponent- India.
For a batsman who’s batted so keenly, ever focused on the contributions he can render than indulging in shenanigans his bat can so easily afford, perhaps what makes Taylor a monument of respect is that even as he’s struck 3 Test doubles, and is now the highest scorer across formats for his side, he’s hardly made a shout about it. If that’s not a sign of quintessential Kiwi dignity, then what is?