New Zealand’s Ross Taylor batting better than ever as he is ruled fit for ODI
The veteran batsman is in the form of his life.
Ross Taylor is seeing the cricket ball better than ever at the age of almost 34.
The New Zealand batsman, fit again after a minor leg injury ruled him out of the third one-day international against England, will be one day short of his birthday when he faces the same opponents in Dunedin on Wednesday.
He will do so with a man-of-the-match century already under his belt and at a venue where New Zealand have never lost in any format.
Perhaps most important of all, though, he continues to demonstrate the benefits of the operation he had 16 months ago to remove a growth from his left eye.
Since then, and he is not entirely sure if it is coincidence or not, Taylor has out-performed his already impressive established statistics against both white ball and red.
Regardless of an ODI average hovering around 60 in that time and notably improved numbers in Tests too, he agrees he is simply batting better than he ever has in a hugely successful career over the past decade.
“Very much so,” said Taylor.
“I’m seeing the ball swing from the hand – I hadn’t been able to see that for two or three years.
“In hindsight it would have been nice to have the operation two or three years earlier.
“At the same time, has it made a big difference? It’s hard to tell – you are older and wiser as well, which makes a difference.”
His return to pinpoint vision can only have helped, of course – although he instinctively adapted to progressive limitations he often did not realise were there.
“It’s a gradual thing, so you don’t notice it as much.
“(But) it’s nice to see the ball swing and, during day-night games, not to fear it.
“A lot of times in day-night games you didn’t want the ball to come near you in the field – and that’s not a great place to be when you are playing cricket.”
He has no such worries these days, as he tries to uphold New Zealand’s faultless University Oval record in a must-win match from 2-1 down with two to play.
“We need to get off to a good start, set the platform – and we know we are a good side when we have wickets in hand,” he said.
“There’s no use going out there helter-skelter and being four for spit, then playing catch-up all the time … I hope I contribute to that.”