Ross Taylor is confident of coping with his vision problem in Hamilton but is prepared for criticism if he fails © Getty Images
He has been cleared to play in Hamilton, and doctors are confident he will recover well, but Ross Taylor admits the experience of going into a Test match with doubts over his vision was a galling one. Taylor had received news that the pterygium on his left eye had worsened the day before he went out to bat in the previous Test.
A batsman who has had his run of form – he averaged 14.83 in the Tests in India and scored only three runs in three Test innings in South Africa – may have had doubts about his game in any case; the optometrists’ diagnosis only added to them.
“When you play and miss your first couple of balls after seeing an optometrist, there are some interesting things that go through your mind,” Taylor said. “Finding out during the Test match was a little bit distracting mentally. Eyes are pretty important. Hopefully I can come back and get back to the form I was in a few years ago.”
Taylor has had the pterygium – a growth on the tissue that lines the eyelids – for “five or six years”, but has seen it deteriorate over the past few months. He had initially noticed it hindering his play in a Test in Brisbane last year. Having received eye drops on that occasion, he went on to score a career-best 290 in Perth. He will now require surgery to remove the pterygium, however, and a recovery period of four to six weeks will follow.
“The surgery involves cutting your eye, and cutting the growth,” he said. “Then they’ll take a little bit from under the eyelid and glue it in so the growth doesn’t come back.
“With any operation there’s always a chance that things don’t go as well as possible. The surgeon I talked to last night was pretty confident that the recovery time is as we had said. After four to six weeks there could be a period when it does deteriorate a little bit, but hopefully I can get it back after a little while.”
Taylor is confident his vision remains good enough to play the Hamilton match, though he does expect criticism of the decision should he fail.
“All the tests said I had very good vision – I guess the growth was just coming across. I prepared to play, even before I saw the specialists. I am looking forward to this Test. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the operation, given what it entails, but I’m sure I’ll get over it.”
Among the challenges Taylor will have to overcome will be swing and seam movement, given the colour of the pitch the teams will play on, and the wet forecast for the first three days. With New Zealand surfaces having become increasingly seam-friendly over the past few years, the hosts’ batsmen have begun to relish playing on them, Taylor said.
“There’s been a mindset change in the team. In the last three or four years we’ve always played on green seamers, or wickets that have got a little bit in it for the seam bowlers. The way the guys train – a few years ago no one would have wanted to go and bat in the green net. But now, in the green net in Hamilton – all the boys want to go and bat in that to test themselves out. There’s no use going to bat on a flat wicket when you know the ball’s going to do a bit out there on day one and two.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo