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All-format genius Ross Taylor bows out; NZ will miss their reliable number 4 batter

Ross Taylor announces his retirement from International Cricket, NZ to miss his services.

All format genius Ross Taylor bows out; New Zealand will miss their reliable number 4 batter
Ross Taylor retires from International Cricket (File Photo/NZC)

The cricketing fraternity gushed with congratulatory wishes and blessings on the internet on December 30, 2021. Needless to say, one of the unsung heroes of New Zealand cricket, Ross Taylor, revered by his fans for his glorious 16 years of services, announced that he would bow out of the game at the end of NZ’s home summer.

The 37-year-old batter confirmed via his Twitter handle that the two-match Test series against Bangladesh would be his last in whites. While the white-ball journey will also find the ultimate destination of his post-cricketer life following one-day internationals against Australia and the Netherlands in February and March respectively.

The Pallekele Plunderer

But there was more to Taylor and the dynamics he had created around his cricketing career. More than his terrific unbeaten 131-run knock against Pakistan during the 2011 World Cup, wherein he scored his first 69 runs from 108 balls, followed by a thunderous punishing spree that fetched him 62 runs off the next 16 deliveries. No Pakistan bowler was spared including the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq, both of whom he punished for 28 and 30 runs, respectively, during those 16 deliveries. His prowess at number 4 during the game not only helped the Black Caps win by a 110-run margin but also earned him the moniker of “The Pallekele Plunderer”.

Afterall, the iconic Black Caps legend has given the fans plenty of reasons to celebrate his retirement and himself look back at his accomplishments. His career lapped with tons of slog sweeps and a million drives, never shied away from broadening the bandwidth of his gameplay. You don’t just outscore your fellow countrymen greats - Stephen Fleming, Martin Crowe, Brendan McCullum, Kane Williamson and the list goes on.

His 18,173 international runs are next to none and outshine all NZ greats to have played the game across eras. This prolific run-scoring capability, especially across all formats shows his prolonged dominance. On that note, let's have a look at some of the prolific records/ knocks engineered by the veteran himself since making his debut in 2006.

Most number of matches and centuries for NZ

With 18,173 runs across all the formats in the international circuit, Taylor is not only the highest run-scorer for NZ but he also equalled former NZ skipper Daniel Vettori for playing the most 112 Test matches. Moreover, his 447 appearances (so far) also account for the most number of appearances by any Kiwi player across all three formats.

He has scored 7,683 runs in Tests in 112 games at an average of 44.66, including 19 centuries, making him one of the only three NZ batters in the elite list of 7000+ run-scorers. His ODI record is even better where he has amassed 8,581 runs in 233 appearances at 48.20 and 21 centuries. His total tally of centuries which is 41 is four more than Williamson (37) and is still the most number of centuries by NZ batter.

Highest score (290 runs) on Australian soil by any visiting batter

The 37-year-old boasts of breaking the rarest of rare records. His highest Test score, which is 290 at WACA Ground in Perth in 2015 against Australia is one of the most extraordinary knocks of all time. Rarely does a visiting batter score a double hundred on Australian soil.

But Taylor, then 31, achieved that special feat and went on to break a 112-year-old record for the highest score by a visiting batter on Australian soil. He overtook England’s Reginald Erskine Foster’s 287-run knock at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) scored in December 1903.

The knock was special for Taylor in several ways as it was his first century in two years, moreover, he also became NZ’s top run-scorer in an innings on foreign soil, surpassing Stephen Fleming’s 274 runs against Sri Lanka in 2003.

NZ’s mojo at No 4 (Most runs at No 4 in Tests and Highest ODI average at No 4)

Taylor has been the fulcrum of NZ’s batting all these years. Over the years, he not only cemented his place in the NZ squad, he even picked his batting position, i.e., at no 4. He may not be considered as one of the best batters of all time but his contribution to NZ cricket distinguishes him as one of the most indispensable elements of the Black Caps unit. His records speak of his brilliance and invaluable contribution when he bats at that position. A total of 7,059 runs of his Test career have come while batting at that position which makes him the 5th in the list of all-time batters with most runs at no 4.

And his prowess in ODIs betters his Test record, having scored 7,664 at an average of 52.13 in 179 games at no 4. Coincidentally, his career-best knock has come batting at that position during England’s tour of New Zealand in 2018. Taylor single-handedly won his side the match when other top-order batters got out without troubling the scorers. Taylor plundered 181* runs while chasing 336 runs and helped NZ win by 5 wickets. His knock is the second-highest score at no 4 by any batter in ODIs and is only next to Vivian Richards who still holds the record with his 189* knock against England in 1984.

Most catches in career - 3rd with 348 catches

Apart from being the mainstays of NZ’s batting, Taylor was also an acrobatic fielder and his records are a testament to that. Taylor has an impressive 0.64 catches per innings, having taken 348 catches in 543 international innings. Mostly fielding in the slip cordon, Taylor has indisputably proved that he has got the safest pair of hands in that position. They say that catches win matches and Taylor has on several occasions proved this point. He has not just starred with the stick alone but also helped the Black Caps seal victory with his secure fielding. His agility and dynamic fielding made him a go to player for high-powered games, i.e., in franchise cricket across the globe.

Here are some of the top twitter reactions for Ross Taylor's International Retirement:

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