Ross Taylor is poised to join an exclusive club of New Zealand cricketers tomorrow when he plays his 200th One Day International for the Black Caps.
The 33-year-old right-hander, who made his ODI debut against the West Indies in Napier in 2006, will join Daniel Vettori (295), Stephen Fleming (280), Brendon McCullum (260), Chris Harris (250), Nathan Astle (223) and Chris Cairns (214) on the list of Black Caps with 200 caps to their name.
Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said Taylor deserved plaudits for not only his length of service, but also the consistency of his output over the past 12 years. “His record has been phenomenal, year-in, year-out,” said Hesson, “And, if anything, he’s playing better now than ever – so we’re delighted to have his experience and skills within the squad. It’s testament to Ross’ appetite and passion for cricket that he’s still working hard to continue to develop his game now.”
Ahead of his 200th ODI appearance, against the West Indies at Seddon Park, in Hamilton tomorrow, Taylor had scored 6903 runs in 199 appearances at an average of 45.11, including 17 centuries, 28 half-centuries, and a top-score of 131 not out – against Pakistan in the ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Black Caps captain Kane Williamson made special mention of Taylor’s influence on the team’s fortunes over his career so far. “Ross has had an enormous bearing on our success over a number of years and, if anything, seems only to be getting better,” said Williamson, “His performance over the 2017 calendar year was exceptional (averaging 60.50 at a strike-rate of 81.89) and he’s begun the 2018 period in a similar vein.”
Taylor, a finalist for the Halberg Sportsman of the Year award, scored the first of his New Zealand record 17 ODI centuries in this third game (against Sari Lanka) and enjoyed a purple patch in 2014 when he scored three consecutive centuries – the first two against India and the third against Pakistan.
He averages 50.19 in ODIs in which he bats first (38.59 batting second), 49.06 at No.4 (30.16 at No.3, and 27.16 at No.5), and 41.11 in Chappell-Hadlee fixtures.
NZC chief executive David White said Taylor’s ODI milestone highlighted his status as one of New Zealand’s best batsmen, ever. “In the pantheon of New Zealand batsmen, Ross stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the finest players we’ve ever seen,” he said, “I just want to congratulate him for his fantastic career so far, both on behalf of everyone at NZC and the wider New Zealand cricket family.”