Cricket isn’t a sport. It is life. Love. War. Peace. You find extroverts. You find introverts. Then you have Luteru Ross Poutoa Lote Taylor. He is as complicated as his full name. Somedays he is a Luteru, somedays Taylor, somedays Ross. You can never guess, read or do anything against him because even he doesn’t know who he brings on a particular day.
He can slap on bowlers’ face by hitting consecutive deliveries outside the park, but the other day, he would fail to score a single to take his team home. He falls, he gets up, falls again, gets up again. He lives in his own tiny bubble with a lock. Only those who know him well know where the key is. They know how to unlock the prankster. Otherwise, you would see a calm, shy Samoan doing what he is best at, scoring runs.
He is lazy, one might think, watching his stands. He comes around as the guy who romances the leg side with his sexy slog sweep. He is so good at romance such that you would end up falling in love with it. Now, that’s the bubble with the lock. He doesn’t want you to know that he can play beautiful drives. As beautiful as it gets, like fresh roses. He surprises you with gentle cut shots here and there and it is too good that you end up asking for more. Well, who can say no to classic?
He is a kind of a loner. Not the guy you would meet at the bar but the supermarket. He would go in, pick up things quietly and come back with no pressure or whatever you call. He enjoys that. He enjoys being there, alone, his time. He has this knack of escaping the spotlight despite having so many tricks in his bag. He is a mountain trying to hide behind the passing clouds of the New Zealand team. Sometimes, a volcano. Sometimes, a landslide.
Taylor is so nice that he often leaves something behind for his critics as well. Yet he makes it hard for everyone to hate him. Even his mentor the great Martin Crowe once called him a dirty slogger. Yet he went on to change Taylor’s career by tweaking his approach. Taylor is a quick learner though.
He is the brand ambassador of being nice yet makes his voice hear whenever it had to be. Except for the time when he had to step down from the captaincy, nobody could ever think of Taylor being vocal. Stepping down did hurt him. Nobody hurts a mountain, do they? Still, Taylor knew where to put all the vengeance- opponents.
He entered the ground, scratched the pitch with his bat, tapped the bat near the crease, then scratched a line to leave a mark at the crease, adjusted his guard, started to swung his bat. The baseball swing took the ball out of the park. Taylor still does it. He enjoys doing it. His guilty pleasure is to swing the bat here and there, to watch the ball sail over the fence.
When he debuted for New Zealand nobody would have thought not even him to go play 100 matches in all three formats. We still don’t believe that he is the first to do so. Blame us, the fans, who thrive for perfection and unfortunately, Taylor is a cake without the cherry on top. I mean, he is all delicious and everything but lacks something that puts players like Kane Williamson or Brendon McCullum on the top. Maybe, he ate his own cherry. Maybe, he likes his cake to be that way. Maybe.
Congrats, Ross Taylor on becoming the first man to play 100 matches in all three formats. I’m sure, Martin Crowe is proud of you and is here to celebrate the moment with you, just like you wish.
Image courtesy: Stuff.co.nz