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Ross Taylor and captain Kane Williamson celebrate New Zealand’s victory in the ICC World Test Championship final against India in Southampton.
Retirement doesn’t seem imminent from Ross Taylor – at least not on his own terms.
Taylor was questioned on Wednesday whether he was contemplating ending his near 14-year test career after helping guide New Zealand to the World Test Championship last week.
The 37-year-old said the usual things about wanting to first spend time with family and friends.
Redemption for the Black Caps on the world stage, after beating India to take the inaugural World Test Championship. Putting the ghosts of the 2019 ODI final behind them, an eight wicket win is earning the side plaudits from across the world.
But there was also a defiance about the country’s most prolific test run-scorer with 7564 runs at 45.84 from 108 tests; biting back at the criticism levelled at his technique during the two-match series versus England and questions over his age.
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“You get asked the question a lot,” Taylor said.
“Your age comes into question a lot more when you’re doing things exactly the same as what you were doing two years ago, but you’re doing them wrong because of your age is sometimes a bit hard to swallow.”
Taylor said he will also have discussions with New Zealand Cricket but indicated he wanted to keep playing.
“I’m still loving the game – still want to learn and get better, so that’s a good sign. At this stage I just want to keep on playing cricket, whatever level that is, for as long as I can.
“Whatever happens over the coming months will be what it is.
“A lot of players, past players, tell me you’re a long time retired, and a lot of them told me they felt like they retired too early.”
Taylor bristled – as much as the mild-mannered veteran can – at the television analysis of his batting woes at Lord’s in the first test against England, where he had scores of 14 and 33. The critics felt his head position was falling over to the off-side and he was playing too much across the line, making him a prime lbw prospect.
“I’ve had that problem my whole career,” Taylor replied.
“I wouldn’t say it’s just been … it’s something that you’re always trying to work on.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that it’s actually quite hard to bat at Lord’s; there’s a slope either way. I actually felt really good in Birmingham, Lord’s has always been a place where it’s hard to get your balance.
“When you come to my age, there’s always going to be things said about you, about your age and whatnot, it’s been the same thing that I’ve had to deal with my whole career – but I guess as you get older that’s probably an easier thing to attack.
“But it is what it is, I still love playing the game of cricket, I still feel like I’ve got something to give to this game, both on and off the field. Regardless of when I do pull up stumps, I still feel like I can play domestic cricket, I still love playing for my country, I still love playing for Central Districts as well.”
Taylor, who hit the winning runs against India in NZ’s second innings at Southampton to end the game 47 not out, said making the WTC final was at the forefront of his mind leading in, not whether he may retire after.
“My main focus over the last little while had been doing everything I can to make the World Cup side. My calf and hammy were playing up leading into that.”
He said the Southampton wicket was tough for the batsmen from both sides.
“There was definitely a lot more in it than the English series, obviously left a bit in it and a lot was made of the Dukes balls.
“You’ve still got to be wary even when the ball’s 60-70 overs old. Where more often than not when you’re playing with the Kookaburra balls, the ball stops swinging and seaming after probably 30 or 40 overs.”
Now he’s literally counting down the minutes until he can return to Hamilton from MIQ and do his share of school drop-offs with his three children when the school holidays end.
“Ten days, 21 hours and 50 minutes to go,” he observed on Wednesday morning.