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Ross Taylor opens up about tough times in his career, New Zealand captaincy and unusual injuries

Sunday, 25 August: Ross Taylor is the first New Zealander to have scored centuries against all Test-playing nations in ODIs and the sixth overall.

He captained his country for the first time against Australia at Napier in 2010 when Daniel Vettori had to pull out. He top-scored with 70 as New Zealand won the game.

Taylor was appointed as captain on a permanent role for the tri-series in Sri Lanka after both Vettori and McCullum opted out. He led his country for two years before it was brought to an end by a strenuous relationship with new coach Mike Hesson.

In his glorious career spanning almost 14 years, Taylor has had his share of ups and downs.


Ross Taylor


A week after his return to the same venue at which he learned he was being stripped of the New Zealand captaincy, Ross Taylor has reflected on what was one of the tougher times in his career - and reveals how he's dealing with the aftermath of that incredible Cricket World Cup final.


In 2012 during a test match at Galle in Sri Lanka, Ross Taylor learned he would have the captaincy taken from him. In his final test at the helm, Taylor scored 142 and 70 in his two innings to guide the Black Caps to the win.


Speaking to ESPNCricInfo, Taylor said it showed what you can do with a bit of resilience.


"I went for two weeks without sleep. I was having probably two hours of sleep each night. But I was still able to score a 140-odd and back it up with a 70. It's amazing how resilient I felt I was back then. Things happen in life that are out of your control. It is what it is.


"I look back at the World Cup final at Lord's and I don't think you can get further apart from Galle in 2012 to Lord's in 2019. Life is about ups and downs. The high of Lord's trumps anything that's happened to me in cricket."


It hasn't just been the loss of captaincy that has had the potential to derail Taylor's career. He's also had several injuries of the more unusual type which have required surgery to fix.


In Zimbabwe in 2015, he required surgery after suffered a blow to the groin during training a day before an ODI.


"I had some freaky injuries, but that's a sport, I guess. The operation in Zimbabwe was interesting. The medical release just said it was an injury to the groin, so when I got home people just thought I'd hurt my groin. When I explained [that it was a testicle injury], it was a bit of a shock. The surgeon took a photo of it, and our doctor at the time sent it through to me. I found later that in New Zealand taking that kind of photo isn't legal."


He also underwent surgery to remove a growth from his eye which was hindering his vision. He said it got to the stage where he didn't want the ball to come to him in the field because he had that much trouble seeing it.


However, since having the surgery, Taylor has been back to his best.

"Two weeks after the (eye) surgery I had throwdowns with the trainer and I saw the ball swing from the hand for the first time. At the start of my innings for a couple of years, I was even more fidgety than normal. I just kept missing balls that I felt I should be at least getting in behind.


"I was playing and missing and was very late on it. I was still able to score runs, but your confidence in your first 10 to 20 balls was not as good as it should have been. Once I saw the ball swing from the hand, I felt like a 20-year-old again."


And six weeks after the incredible Cricket World Cup final at Lord's - and the crazy tied Super Over ending - Taylor reveals he looks back at the game "with fond memories" and that the disappointment had eased.


"It would have been nice to have won it.


"It wasn't until we got home to New Zealand that you knew what the effect was. I had a holiday with my family in France, just to get away from it afterward, and had a lot of people were coming up - English, Kiwis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans - saying what a fantastic game it was, and that it was something that they'd never forget,' he told ESPNCricinfo.


"And when we got home, people would come up and tell you their stories of how they'd watched the game - the lack of sleep and how they got through the next day.


"With the time zones, Kiwis would have been up all night. They'd all correct you when you said, 'Sorry we lost the game'. They'd stop you right there and go: 'No, you didn't lose the game, you tied the game'.


"I was surprised at how many people said that. I've been fortunate enough to play in two World Cup finals, in Melbourne and at Lord's. You couldn't ask for two better places, given the history of the grounds. Just disappointed we couldn't lift the trophy."