The ‘Club versus Country’ debate has been on since IPL’s inception in 2008 but former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor feels that his country’s Board was among the first to realise that “allowing players in the IPL will only prolong their international careers”.
New Zealand, for some years now, does not plan any bilateral series during IPL which allows all its players to ply their trade in the cash-rich league and earn handsome salaries.
“New Zealand cricket has done a very good job (by keeping window open during IPL). We don’t have the same depth of players like some of the other countries, so it is good that our players come and play in the IPL. Ultimately by playing in IPL, the players get to play for NZ for a longer time,” Delhi Daredevils’ Taylor said during an interaction after a training session of the team.
“The way it has gone, NZC knows that to keep the players playing for as long as possible, both the Board and the players will have to give in a little bit,” Taylor hit the point straightaway.
Taylor has been a kind of IPL journeyman having played for four franchises in his last six seasons (RCB, Rajasthan Royals, DD and Pune Warriors). Back in familiar territory, the 30-year-old veteran of 54 Tests and 137 ODIs is a happy man.
“I think it’s been great. It’s nice to come back to a franchise that I am familiar with. Going to three franchises in three years was a little disruptive,” Taylor conceded.
Taylor will also have some first hand inputs for the Daredevils as the New Zealand team had a week-long camp in Abu Dhabi ahead of the ICC World T20.
“We just went there for training before the World T20. The practise pitches were a bit worn out at that point of time. Hopefully, they have grown a bit of grass by now.”
Asked about his preferred batting position, Taylor made it clear that he would ideally like to bat at No 4 or 5.
“The higher you bat, more time you spend out there in the middle. Number 4 or 5 is probably my ideal spot. There has been a few minor changes in my batting.”
Playing for Delhi Daredevils means that Taylor is at ease in familiar conditions.
“Each team has its share of positives and negatives. Having played for DD earlier, it will be easier to deal with tough situations. DD is one of my favourite teams that I have been a part of.”
Taylor said that it will be his duty to help out the young Indian players by sharing his experiences of playing top flight international cricket.
“As an overseas player, it is really good to come and meet some of the younger Indian players. Probably, they don’t have big reputations like some of the other players but yeah, it has been great to work with the bunch.”
Has he already passed on any tips to the junior players in these three days, Taylor replied, “It will be great to know their names first. Pass on the knowledge to the youngsters, they will all be coming and asking questions. I am sure over time, we will have long conversations.”
He is impressed with coach Gary Kirsten after initial round of interactions and is happy to find Kevin Pietersen mix well with the group.
“Good to first time work with Gary. He is amazing to work with and Kevin as well has been good around the group.”
Asked if he is ready to play around KP who will have to shoulder a lot of responsibility, he replied, “A lot of time it does depend on the situation of the game. Sum up the situation and be smart in different situations. It calls for different batting if two wickets are down compared to when you have got a good start.”
Taylor seemed impressed with young Jharkhand quick Rahul Shukla, who had made a name last season playing for Rajasthan Royals.
“I think we have got good balance in fast bowling department. Obviously you can have big names but if they tend to get injured then you lose them. Fast bowling is very hard on body. Rahul Shukla, Jimmy Neesham are all up and coming players and we expect them to do well”.