Auckland: Ross Taylor, New Zealand’s most successful Test batter, has announced he will retire from the longest format of the game following the upcoming series against Bangladesh.
Taylor on Thursday confirmed that the current summer will be his last for the BlackCaps, marking the end of a remarkable 16-year international career.
According to New Zealand Cricket (NZC), Taylor signalled his intentions on the eve of the Test series against Bangladesh, starting in Mount Maunganui on Saturday, confirming the two-match series would be his last in the red-ball cricket, before bowing out in the ODIs against Australia and Netherlands later this summer.
The 37-year-old has been a mainstay in the New Zealand batting since making his debut in 2006, setting a number of records and achievements including becoming the highest run scorer (18,074) for New Zealand in international cricket and appearances (445) charts.
Taylor acknowledged it wasn’t an easy decision to make but felt the time was right.
“It’s been an amazing journey and I feel incredibly fortunate to have represented my country for as long as I have,” he was quoted as saying by NZC.
“It’s been such a privilege to play with and against some of the greats of the game and to have created so many memories and friendships along the way.
“But all good things must come to an end and the timing feels right for me. I want to thank my family, friends and all those who have helped me get to this point.
“There’ll be plenty of time for more thank-yous and reflections later in the season — but for now I want all my energy and focus to be on preparing and performing for the BlackCaps this summer.”
Taylor said he would remain available for Central Districts until the end of the season before making a decision on whether to continue playing domestic cricket.
Taylor has scored the most runs for NZ in Tests (7584) and is one of only four New Zealanders to play 100 Tests — at 110 Tests, he joins Daniel Vettori 112, Stephen Fleming 111 and Brendon McCullum 101 on the list.
Coach Gary Stead told New Zealand Cricket that Taylor would undoubtedly bow out as one of New Zealand’s greats.
“Ross has always been a hugely respected member of the side and we’re thankful for his contributions to the BlackCaps over an incredible career.
“His skills and temperament as a batsman have been world-class and his ability to perform at such a high level for so long speaks volumes of his longevity and professionalism.
“His experience has held the side together on countless occasions and his catching record speaks for itself. There’s no doubt we’re going to miss him when he’s gone.
“Seeing him hit the winning runs in Southampton to help win our first ICC World title is a moment I will never forget and I’m sure it’s the same for many of the fans.
“I know Ross is really focused on performing well in these remaining series and going out on the right note.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who is unavailable for the Bangladesh series while he rehabilitates an elbow injury, said Taylor had given his all to the New Zealand team over the years, and wished him well for the upcoming two Tests.
“Ross has been at the core of the side for so long and can be extremely proud of having brought the game in this country to a better place.
“He’s a world class player, our best with the bat over such a long period of time and personally it’s been a pleasure to be involved in so many partnerships with him across the formats.
“We’ve shared some pretty cool moments together — most recently the World Test Championship Final which was obviously really special.
“As a senior player and a leader in the group he’s been a fantastic support person for me, especially out there in the field being able to tap into his experience.
“It’s a really exciting time for Ross when he can reflect on so many amazing moments throughout his career and I know all the guys are also looking forward to sharing the occasions with him as he is such a special player to this team.”
NZC chief executive David White said everyone knew this day would, eventually, arrive — but no-one wanted it to.
“Ross has been such a successful and influential part of the BlackCaps in all three formats that it’s hard to imagine the side without him,” he said.
“He’s been a colossus in the Test team; one of the chief contributors to the success New Zealand has achieved over the past eight or nine years, and one of our few, true batting “greats”.
“And he’s also been a giant of the white ball formats — particularly the 50-over game, in which he’s excelled.” He is the only cricketer in the world to play 100 matches in each of the three formats.
White said Taylor was a leader, a fighter, and a terrific example for all who played alongside and against him. “He’s very much earned the mana and respect he carries today.”