Ross Taylor admits the huge standing ovations he's received since his cricketing comeback have only intensified the pressure on him to perform with the bat.
The former New Zealand captain spoke today of his mixed emotions after scoring 100 off 117 balls in a losing cause in the second ODI in Napier, which England won by eight wickets to send the series to a decider in Auckland on Saturday.
Taylor scored 13, four, six and 22 in his four innings against England since his two-month hiatus following the captaincy drama.
When he raised his bat for a hard-fought century yesterday, his seventh on ODI cricket, the relief was palpable at McLean Park.
"There are a lot of emotions going through your mind and body. Obviously with what's gone on it was nice to know that I can still bat. I didn't feel great out there but it's even more satisfying to know that you can still score runs when you don't feel quite 100 per cent," he said.
Taylor, who was jettisoned as skipper by coach Mike Hesson, has received standing ovations at every venue this summer and even provoked a banner: 'Taylor for Prime Minister' in Wellington.
"Coming out in every game and getting a pretty amazing reception, it's not normal and you do put extra pressure on yourself, whether consciously or subconsciously. I think I did put a lot of pressure on myself," he said of his struggles before Napier.
"Every time you play international cricket it's nice to be able to get up for it and having the crowd do that makes it even easier to get up for it as long as you don't get too hyped. It is a nice feeling and I guess the hundred was for all of the people who have supported me for the last little while."
Taylor and Hesson have both described their relationship as a work in progress. They haven't spoken much since their clear the air meeting before the England series, and Taylor said Hesson offered a simple 'well batted' after yesterday's knock.
"He speaks to all the individuals. I haven't had a lot to talk with Hess about. He comes and has the odd chat. Everything's going fine. I don't know what else to say."
Taylor reiterated he felt comfortable in the team environment under new skipper Brendon McCullum, despite all the drama of the past three months.
"The time I've been in the team I've felt like I never left. Different aspects have changed but these are still the same team-mates I've played with and hopefully I can score a few more runs for them and win a few more games for New Zealand."
- Fairfax Media