Ross Taylor takes first step to NZ comeback

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2013
Ross Taylor
Photosport
CATCHING UP: Gary Hermansson, left, chats with with Ross Taylor at training yesterday.

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It might be interesting to be a fly on the wall when Ross Taylor and Black Caps assistant coach Bob Carter meet in Whangarei early next month.

Taylor, who makes his long-awaited return to cricket in Napier today, was yesterday named in the New Zealand XI squad for Twenty20 matches against England at Cobham Oval on February 4 and 6.

Carter will coach that New Zealand XI and was one of the four men in the room at Galle on the fateful day when Taylor was told he would not captain the Black Caps in any form of cricket - or wasn't, depending on who's telling the story.

Taylor played out that test series in Sri Lanka but hasn't appeared for any team since.

His selection in the New Zealand XI would tend to suggest that the former skipper has recovered from the hurt of his unceremonious dumping and could comfortably fit back into the Black Caps environment when the time comes.

Or does it?

"Look, in terms of playing cricket, he's keen. But I think that's a question you need to pose to Ross about that side of things, because I'm not involved in that," New Zealand Cricket's national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said.

Taylor will play for Central Districts in their Plunket Shield clash with Canterbury at McLean Park, starting today.

Several media outlets attended yesterday's Stags training but Taylor wasn't giving interviews and is unlikely to do so during or after this match, CD manager Lance Hamilton said.

"He just wants to play.

"He's had two good bats, yesterday and today, and he's just fitted in like he always does. He's Ross."

Since arriving in Napier for the match with Canterbury, Taylor has also been having batting sessions with former Black Caps coach Mark Greatbatch, on top of CD training.

Long-time CD psychologist Gary Hermansson was at team training yesterday, where he and Taylor enjoyed an animated discussion.

Doug Bracewell is back from Black Caps duty and training with CD but won't appear against Canterbury. He will play in the following match, against Auckland.

In terms of the New Zealand XI, Luke Ronchi is Wellington's sole representative.

Littlejohn said Ronchi's credentials were impeccable and everyone was keen to see how the wicketkeeper-batsman performed within New Zealand's high performance setup.

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Jesse Ryder wasn't available and wouldn't have been picked anyway, said Littlejohn.

"No, he's more likely to be part of the full side" if and when he decided he wanted to be a Black Cap again.

Yesterday brought some welcome good news for NZ Cricket, with the Black Caps' historic one-day series win over South Africa.

"It couldn't have come at a better time, to be honest.

"We pretty much hit rock-bottom there, around the Christmas-New Year period," Littlejohn said.

HOW THEY LINE UP

New Zealand XI squad to meet England: Andrew Ellis (c), Anton Devcich, Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford, Ian Butler, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Matt Henry, Michael Bates, Neil Broom, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham

- The Dominion Post

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