Veteran New Zealand Batsman Ross Taylor makes history in the World of International Cricket

Veteran New Zealand Batsman Ross Taylor makes history in the World of International Cricket

WELLINGTON – Veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor has dismissed talk of retirement as he approaches a unique career milestone in the opening Test against India starting Friday in Wellington.

The 35-year-old will become the first cricketer to play 100 internationals in all three formats of the game when the Black Caps take on Virat Kohli’s men at Basin Reserve.

"It’s nice to start the club. I’m sure over the next few years, there’s going to be a lot more to join in," Taylor told reporters.

He admitted that retiring after last year’s Cricket World Cup had briefly crossed his mind, but now he’s not ruling out playing until the 2023 edition, if form and motivation remain intact.

"I still feel like I’m good enough and have a lot more to offer this team, both on and off the field," he said.

"I’m still as hungry as ever to score runs. I love playing cricket, first and foremost. It’s not a job."

Taylor demonstrated his hunger earlier this month, hitting an unbeaten century in the first one-day international against India that helped the Black Caps to a 3-0 series sweep over the visitors.

He is New Zealand’s leading run scorer in Tests and ODIs, with 40 centuries across the two formats, more than any other Black Cap. ------------------------------

*‘Failures shape you’* ------------------------------

Taylor’s 14-year international career has had its rough spots, including two losing appearances in World Cup finals and being dropped as captain in 2012.

But he said such difficulties had contributed to his longevity.

"It’s not necessarily the runs you get in the good times, it’s how you deal with the failures that shape you as a person," he said.

"Sometimes the negative things make you harder and stronger and more resilient. That’s what you need to be, to be a Test player."

Taylor grew up just outside Wellington and was pleased his extended family and former coaches were able to attend his landmark Test after their support early in his career.

"I don’t know if I’ve got enough tickets for them all, they’re all coming out of the woodwork," he joked.

But in typical fashion he was keeping festivities on hold to concentrate on the task of confronting India, a team he rated the best in the world.

"There’s still a game of cricket to be played," he said.

"The celebration and all the things that come with it will hopefully come after the match."

Kohli, a former teammate of Taylor’s at Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, paid tribute to the batsman.

"He’s one guy who has made an impact a lot of times for New Zealand," he said.

"I’ve been fortunate enough to play with him at RCB -- lovely guy... he really understands the game very well, that’s the only way you can play for so long across all formats." - APP/AFP