Ross Taylor's sensational sacking as New Zealand cricket captain was confirmed today with Brendon McCullum named as the Black Caps' new skipper.
The change in command was confirmed at the press conference at New Zealand Cricket headquarters in Auckland this morning where it was revealed Taylor turned down an "olive branch" offer to retain the test captaincy but relinquish the role for one-dayers and T20 matches.
Taylor is unavailable for the upcoming tour of South Africa which McCullum will lead but is available for the series against England in New Zealand early next year.
Taylor's removal came a week after he guided New Zealand to victory over Sri Lanka in Colombo, including a personal man of the match effort in the 167-run win.
The Black Caps' poor run of results in all forms of the game up until that win cost Taylor the job.
The timing of the victory has made for an ugly week with Black Caps coach Mike Hesson clearly favouring a McCullum appointment before the tour of Sri Lanka.
McCullum takes over with the Black Caps facing a hectic summer that starts with a tour of South Africa and then hosting England - two of the powerhouses of the game at the moment.
Adding to their challenge in South Africa will be the absence of Taylor, who, in the wake of his dramatic demotion, has made himself unavailable, shearing the Black Caps of their best batsman.
McCullum will be New Zealand's 28th test captain, though it's a position he has previously held, standing in for the injured Taylor.
The two have had a long rivalry for the position. They were head to head candidates for the job last year - some have described it as US Presidential-style race - with Taylor eventually gaining the confidence of the NZC board when appointing him in June, 2011.
But the appointment of Hesson to replace John Wright as coach of the New Zealand team placed heat on Taylor because of Hesson's strong relationship with McCullum through their previous work together at Otago.
The first cracks in the Hesson-Taylor relationship appeared at the T20 World Cup when Hesson got tongues wagging with an ambiguous answer to a question about Taylor's captaincy for the three forms of the game.
''All I can say is at the moment Ross Taylor is captain of the Black Caps. That's a board decision and Ross and I have been working pretty hard together, obviously, for this tournament,'' said Hesson.
From there it has spiralled to today's extraordinary announcement.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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