Fired captain Ross Taylor has accused New Zealand Cricket (NZC) of misrepresenting the circumstances of his dismissal, further inflaming a row overshadowing New Zealand’s preparation for its tour of South Africa.
Accounts given to the media by Taylor, New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White and national coach Mike Hesson differ widely, leading Taylor to say in a radio interview yesterday that Hesson and NZC’s versions are untrue.
White and Hesson say Taylor was asked to remain as Test captain, but relinquish the captaincy of the New Zealand one-day and Twenty20 teams to Brendon McCullum. Taylor disputes that claim.
Asked yesterday whether someone at New Zealand Cricket was lying about the offer of the Test captaincy, Taylor replied “definitely.”
In an increasingly bitter dispute being played out in the full glare of the media, the parties only agree that Taylor learned that he was to be stripped of the captaincy four days before last month’s second Test against Sri Lanka.
Taylor was visited in his hotel room in Galle, Sri Lanka, by Hesson, New Zealand assistant coach Bob Carter and team manager Mike Sandle. The differing versions of what happened at that meeting have become the cause of continuing bitterness between Taylor and NZC.
Taylor says Hesson made it clear he had lost confidence in his leadership and he would be dismissed as captain in all forms of the game once the second Test had been played. He place would be taken by Brendon McCullum, a long-time friend of Hesson’s.
Despite Hesson and White insisting that Taylor was asked to remain as Test captain, Taylor claims the offer of retaining the Test role was only made after New Zealand won the second Test, squaring the series and breaking a run of five Test losses under his leadership.
Hesson said he may not have clearly communicated his intention, but Taylor said the meeting in Galle was brief and blunt and it was clear he was being fired from all captaincy roles.
“He said I wasn’t a good enough leader, that this team needs a strong leader and that I wasn’t a strong leader,” Taylor said. “If I wasn’t a strong leader why would he give me the Test captaincy? He said ‘Ross, I am going to recommend to [NZC director of cricket] John Buchanan that we have a new captain for South Africa.’ There was nothing in there about anything to do with a split captaincy.”
Taylor has since made himself unavailable for the two-Test tour of South Africa starting later this month that also includes three Twenty20 internationals and three one-dayers.
“I don’t think I could have given 100 percent,” he said. “It has been a pretty stressful time for me, especially the last two or three weeks, but the last five months have been pretty tough on myself. The team will be better without me and all the distractions that have happened in the last couple of weeks.”