Ross Taylor likely to return for test matches
It's taken 10 days but there is finally some good news to report out of the Caribbean - injured New Zealand cricket captain Ross Taylor is on the mend and hopeful he will be fit for the two tests against the West Indies.
Taylor injured his AC joint in his left shoulder when fielding in the first Twenty20 international in Florida on July 1, with the initial prognosis being two to six weeks on the sidelines.
But it looks as though it might be the lower end of that scale, with Taylor having successfully resumed net practice, against both spinners and quick bowlers.
The first test, in Antigua, starts on July 26 and it looks as though that will be his target.
''I had my first net against the quicks today - I had the spinners yesterday - and it was nice to get out there,'' Taylor said as his teammates prepare to face the Windies in the third one-day international in Basseterre, St Kitts, tomorrow morning (1.30am NZT).
''It was a little bit better today, though there's still a bit of pain there.
''If I can keep improving like I have every day, then there's every chance I could hopefully play earlier than I first thought.''
It's been a tough week on the sidelines for Taylor, forced to watch helplessly as New Zealand have been torn to shreds by a West Indies team barely forced to get out of second gear.
The Twenty20 series was lost 2-0 and the tourists face a 2-0 deficit in the five-match ODI series, with Chris Gayle having made short work of the Kiwis.
However, Taylor hopes the change of pace in St Kitts - the first two ODIs were in Jamaica - as well as gradual improvements in New Zealand's performances, however minimal they might have been, will spark a turnaround.
''It's a lot more relaxed place, the players have been able to get out of their room a little bit more. Quite often when you're on tour and you're stuck in your room, you get cabin fever, so hopefully that can re-energise the mind,'' he said.
''We've just got to try to forget about the last two games and try and be as confident as possible. When you do lose, you start second-guessing yourselves a little bit, but we need to be as positive as possible and know that our performances have been slightly better each game.
''All facets need to improving on, but I thought in the last game there were areas in both bat and all where we improved remarkably on where we were the game before. Hopefully we can take some of those half chances and get some momentum going our way.''
Taylor said he had been impressed with the way Kane Williamson, New Zealand's youngest ever ODI captain, had taken charge of the team in his absence.
The 21-year-old has not been afraid to seek out advice from Taylor, the pair having chatted quite a bit during the past 10 days.
''He's only young and to come out here and captain guys who are a lot older than him is always a little intimidating, but the players respect him, he's got a good cricket brain, and the way he batted in the last game shows what a mature player he is.
''Hopefully for his own confidence he can continue that form with the bat and the others can rally around him and give him that first win, which will give him a lot more confidence.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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