Emotional Taylor channels mentor Crowe after becoming top run-scorer

© Getty Images

Ross Taylor was overcome by emotion after becoming New Zealand’s highest Test run-scorer as he recalled a conversation at the start of his career with mentor Martin Crowe.

Taylor moved to the top of the New Zealand list, overtaking Stephen Fleming’s tally of 7172, when he lofted Nathan Lyon down the ground on the fourth day of the SCG Test.

He fell in the next over, bowled by Pat Cummins for 22, but when reflecting on the achievement after the match he couldn’t hold back the tears as his mind turned to what Crowe, who died in 2016, had told him before his first Test in 2007.

“My goal was to play one Test match. I guess it’s an emotional time because my mentor Martin Crowe – that was one of the goals he put down for me was to be New Zealand’s highest Test run-scorer,” Taylor said after taking time to compose himself. “To be honest I didn’t believe him, but I’d have loved for him to be here and help celebrate.”

Taylor has often referenced Crowe during his career, notably when he when he scored his 18th Test hundred – passing Crowe’s tally – against Bangladesh last March. He admitted he did not believe he had it in him to become a successful Test player early in his career, having made his ODI and T20I debuts in 2006 before a first Test appearance, against South Africa at Johannesburg, in 2007.

“When I first played for New Zealand I’d had a pretty decent one-day career and only scored three or four first-class hundreds. And T20 was just coming through,” he said. “I always thought I was good enough to play one-day cricket but Test cricket was something I was never quite sure if I was good enough. That’s why I’d seek Martin’s help to become a better player than the raw, gay-abandon player that I was as a youngster.”

Taylor was pleased to complete the run-scoring milestone before his 100th Test, which is set to be the first match against India at Wellington in February.

Ross Taylor looks skywards after going past Martin Crowe’s tally of Test hundreds © Getty Images

“I go back to my 200th [ODI] game. I didn’t really enjoy it that much…needing one or two runs that might have been a twitchy game in the 100th. I just want to go out there and enjoy it and India are a fantastic country to play against. And the Basin Reserve, if the body holds up, will be a special moment for my family and friends.”

As he did when becoming New Zealand’s highest ODI run-scorer last year, Taylor said he had no thoughts of retirement but did not expect his record to last with Kane Williamson set to hunt down whatever figure Taylor is above to leave.

“Records are meant to be broken and Flem [Fleming] set a very high standard, and for me I’m trying to get as many runs before I do retire to give Kane something to chase. He’s got a fantastic record and will go down as one of our greatest cricketers but we need him to have something to strive for. Hopefully in however many years, there’s a youngster who can chase whatever, nine, ten, eleven thousand runs that Kane gets to.

“I don’t want to hang on to just play cricket, I still want to feel I earn the right in this side and am still good enough to play. I didn’t score as many runs as I’d like [against Australia], but it wasn’t that long ago that I did score some runs. I’ve still got a lot of cricket to come in the home summer and hopefully I can contribute to a lot more wins.”

In terms of marking a the milestone, Taylor was given a special bottle of wine which he will open in due course. “I’ve got a lovely bottle of Penfolds in the changing room before I’m sure in time I will open up.”

And he’ll no doubt be raising a glass to his mentor.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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