x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Ross Taylor's equation with New Zealand cricket coach Mike Hesson is a 'work in progress'

Star batsman returns to Black Caps dressing room after break and says relationships in team will improve despite his dismissal from captaincy.

Ross Taylor, right, has a chat with Mike Hesson during a practice session yesterday. Fiona Goodall / Getty Images
Ross Taylor, right, has a chat with Mike Hesson during a practice session yesterday. Fiona Goodall / Getty Images

WELLINGTON // Bitterness created by the dismissal of Ross Taylor as the New Zealand captain seems likely to follow the team into their demanding home series against England starting on Saturday.

Taylor rejoined the New Zealand team in Auckland today as they prepare for the first of three Twenty20 internationals against England, to be followed by three one-dayers and as many Test matches.

While he sought to be diplomatic, Taylor's first comments to reporters suggested many issues created by his dismissal late last year remain unresolved and that the New Zealand team may be divided.

Taylor described his continuing relationship with the coach Mike Hesson, who relieved him of the captaincy in Sri Lanka last year, as "a work in progress". He suggested his relationship with Brendon McCullum, the new captain, was less fraught, but Taylor also hinted at a fractured New Zealand team.

He refused to play for the Black Caps on the recent tour to South Africa in which they were twice beaten by an innings in Tests – including a first-innings score of only 45 in the first Test at Cape Town.

New Zealand lost the Twenty20 series in South Africa 2-1 and won the one-day series 2-1, but remain in eighth place in world rankings in all three forms of the game.

When Hesson dismissed Taylor four days after the second Test in Sri Lanka, he hinted at a national team which had lost faith in their captain. But Taylor said he retained "friends" within the New Zealand team and suggested a separate faction had allied itself with Hesson and McCullum.

While Taylor was ambiguous about his relationship with Hesson, he said: "I've got friends in the team and I'm looking forward to playing for them, and obviously playing for management and the country as well."

He chatted with McCullum during New Zealand's training session in Auckland but the interaction seemed formal, rather than relaxed.

"Have we [gone out socially]? No, I met Brendon this morning so I'm sure we'll go and meet up over the next couple of days somewhere," Taylor said. "I don't think there was anything wrong with our relationship in the first place."

Taylor said he felt no animosity from his teammates after his loss of the captaincy and his decision to bypass the South African tour.

"I can't speak for anyone else, I can only see what I see myself but I haven't seen anything untoward towards myself," he said. "And I've just been acting like my normal self, so I don't see anything there.

"It's been nice to see some fresh faces that I don't know and have only played against. They've brought a new enthusiasm into the team."

Taylor said although he was no longer captain, he would continue to express his opinion on the field as a senior player. "I did that when I wasn't captain so I don't see any change in that," he said.


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