Morgan aware of Taylor talent
Eoin Morgan remains wary of the threat posed by Ross Taylor even though the former New Zealand captain is taking his first tentative steps back into the fold.
Taylor’s breakdown of communications with coach Mike Hesson after he was stripped of the captaincy last year has been well-documented.
But having missed New Zealand’s Test and limited-overs tour of South Africa, the destructive batsman is in the squad again for three Twenty20s versus England - the first is on Saturday - and then three one-day internationals which follow.
Taylor was this morning back at nets with his international team-mates, including his successor as captain Brendon McCullum, for the first time in months.
There was no sign of frostiness in the camp and Taylor even had time for a quick chat with Hesson at Eden Park. However the 28-year-old is welcomed back, England are well aware of his match-winning potential.
“He is a big danger, a very successful one-day and Twenty20 cricketer and someone we look to as a possible threat in this series,” said Morgan.
As for Taylor, it appears to be a case of so far, so good.
“I always enjoy representing my country, and hope I can do that with some pride over the next six weeks of this tour,” he said. “I’ve got friends in the team and I’m looking forward to playing for them, and obviously the management and the country as well.
“I can’t speak for anyone else, I can only say what I see myself and I haven’t seen anything untoward towards me.
“I’ve just been acting like my normal self, so I don’t think there’s anything there. There’s probably still people outside the team who want to stir it up a little bit. We can’t control that. There’s a few cameras here ... and I’m sure they’re here for a reason.”
New Zealand need Taylor as much as he needs them - and he insists he is prepared to do as he is told for the common good.
“I’ll bat wherever I’m put, and sit wherever I’m sat,” he added. “I just want to be out there and play some cricket. I don’t know how good I’ll be, but I’ll give it my best.
“I hope I can just go out there and enjoy myself. You’ve just got to get on with it. It is what it is. I’m sure come Saturday it will be forgotten.”
England, meanwhile, had a day away from the training ground after yesterday’s warm-up defeat against a New Zealand XI in Whangarei.
Morgan acknowledged that narrow setback was a disappointment, but added there was good reason to draw encouragement too.
“All our preparation matters and having a great test yesterday was brilliant for us,” he said. “Often you go into warm-up games and dominate ... and we are looking forward to Saturday now.”
Morgan would like to have fared better with the bat during England’s 3-2 OI defeat in India last month; ideally, he would also have preferred a second successive victory over the NZ XI.
On the other hand, Morgan’s last three T20 innings for his country have brought him scores of 49, 48 and 51 - without being dismissed - in his specialist middle-order position. He is feeling so at home there, in fact, as to lay public claim to a degree of longevity.
“I’m quite happy where I am. The role I play I think I’ve done really well since I’ve come into the team,” he added. “From here onwards, that’s the position I think I’ve sort of made my own and can win games for England batting there.”
Morgan cannot be quite so sure about his ODI future. Indeed, with the rested Jonathan Trott set to be back at number three and Joe Root staking the most pressing claim among England’s emerging 50-over players, a few more handy T20 scores will not go amiss against New Zealand.
“I always feel the need to perform, especially with the very successful England side we have,” Morgan said. “You always feel under pressure for your place. Guys like Jos (Buttler) and Joe have come in and played fantastically well.
“Having practised and played with them for the last six months, it’s great to see them getting out there on the big stage and performing.”