Sir Richard Hadlee believes Ross Taylor may have been better to continue to front for the Black Caps than miss the recent tour of South Africa after his controversial sacking as captain and predicted "an uneasy time" lay ahead.
New Zealand's greatest cricketer was widely quizzed on the hot topic when he fronted a promotion for English Sky Sport's "year of cricket".
Hadlee was sympathetic to Taylor over the ugly handling of the situation but still felt the classy batsman might have been better to keep his pads on for the Black Caps against the Proteas rather than take a self-imposed exile at home over the holiday period.
"I find it very interesting how Taylor reacted. In some ways I'm a little disappointed that Taylor decided to exile himself for a period of time," Hadlee told the Cricinfo website.
"If you fall off the horse you get back on it, and I can't imagine an All Black rugby player who was captain then was replaced not make himself available to play again as soon as possible.
"Clearly, Taylor had been affected in some way and needed to get his mind right. It was his call, but I'm not sure it was good thing because when he gets back into the side it's going to be quite an uneasy period for him, and other team-mates, knowing that he walked away."
Hadlee felt the scenario had been confusing as it unfolded, though the toll on Taylor had been obvious.
"There were clearly mixed messages, which have been well documented. Taylor had clearly been hurt and offended, perhaps not so much by the decision but how it came about because it was done before the first Test. That decision should have been made in the review after the tour."
In a separate interview with the London Times, Hadlee predicted "testing times" lay ahead as Taylor looked to re-establish himself in the Black Caps, starting with Saturday's series-opening T20 against England at Auckland's Eden Park.
"It is going to be an uneasy time," Hadlee told the Times.
"Clearly there have been different factions, those supporting Taylor and those supporting another captain. The important thing for Taylor is that his head space is right, he has some form and fits back in after what is basically a sabbatical. In South Africa, the harmony was good and the results were very good, so in my view there are testing times still to come."
Hadlee said while the process had been messy, new coach Mike Hesson had shown strong qualities with his decision to replace Taylor between tours.
"Making the decision to replace Taylor as captain showed he has balls," Hadlee said of Hesson.
"John Buchanan [the director of cricket] was very much a Taylor man. Suddenly, here is the coach Buchanan helped to appoint going against that. Hesson is his own man and not someone who toes the line. That is a good quality as a coach.
"I guess that Hesson and the management team, having watched Taylor in the dressing room and on the field, felt that he is a defensive captain. McCullum, we know, is very positive in everything he does. I see a difference in the team, they seem energised under him."
Hadlee also offered his views on sidelined star Jesse Ryder, saying the wellington batsman had to abide by the rules of the team.
"When Jesse is ready to come back that will be great for our game, but the most important thing he needs to do is obey a set of rules and protocols," Hadlee told Cricinfo.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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