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Ross Taylor is just five games away from becoming New Zealand’s most-capped international cricketer, across formats, and might end up setting the bar really high by the time he decides to quit, because the next 50-over World Cup – in late 2023 – “is definitely on the radar” for him.

Taylor, who is nearing 37, should go past Daniel Vettori‘s mark of 437 international caps during the upcoming home series (three T20Is and two Tests) against West Indies. He said he had been using the Covid-19-enforced break to think about the future, and admitted that it would be a challenge to go on for another three years to sign off at the World Cup, to be played in India.

Speaking at a press interaction after the New Zealanders reached Auckland, the venue for the first T20I on November 27, Taylor said, “2023 was going to be a stretch, I think, at the best of times, when it was (supposed to be held in) February and March. And now, the World Cup has been dragged out to October and November ’23, it’s another six or seven months to hang around.

“You’ve got to have short-term goals and long-term goals and the one-day World Cup is definitely on the radar. I might have to trim things back leading into that – I’m not getting any younger. It doesn’t mean I will make it, but, it’s definitely one of my goals.”

“To have a complete break away from that and not have the excuse to that you’ve got a game in a couple of days’ time and to be present with my family was something I’ll never forget. But, at the same time, you’re only a cricketer for a certain period of time, and I’m not getting any younger, so I’ve got to make the most of every opportunity I can”

New Zealand’s last international game was the first ODI against Australia in Sydney on March 13, played in front of empty stands, before that series was called off in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. Taylor might well have gone past Vettori’s mark had there been a normal calendar through 2020, and jokingly said, “don’t jinx it, when asked about the impending milestone.

From an international debut in an ODI – also against West Indies – in Napier in March 2006, Taylor has treaded a long path, playing 101 Tests, 232 ODIs and 100 T20Is prior to the start of the upcoming series.

“I was really happy to play one or two games for New Zealand,” he said, looking back. “I’ve still got to get there first, but my mentor, Martin Crowe, always used to say records are meant to be broken for the next guy to come beat. Whatever number of games I end up on, hopefully Kane [Williamson, who has 291 caps] and whoever comes through can beat that and keep setting the bar higher.”

ALSO READ: Ross Taylor on 2021 T20 World Cup: ‘Not sure’

Taylor was away playing the Caribbean Premier League not too long ago, and agreed that it wasn’t always easy to play in crowdless stadia, even though players were used to empty stands at domestic matches.

No fans made it “a little bit dull, almost like a warm-up game”, Taylor said. “In domestic cricket, we don’t really get a lot of people, so that hasn’t felt any different,” he said with a laugh. “(From) playing in front of nobody to having the possibility of playing in front of thousands of people, I think – that’s why you want to play for, you play for your family and friends and the fans.”

Like with many others, a break from the hectic schedule went down well with Taylor, but he conceded that he was desperate to get back to playing.

“When you’re a parent, it’s nice to have your kids around, but you’ve normally got a little bit of your mind on the game you’re playing in a couple of days’ time,” he said. “To have a complete break away from that and not have the excuse to that you’ve got a game in a couple of days’ time and to be present with my family was something I’ll never forget.

“But, at the same time, you’re only a cricketer for a certain period of time, and I’m not getting any younger, so I’ve got to make the most of every opportunity I can.”



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Ishant Sharma gets stitches on bowling hand, but ‘expected to recover in time’ for England Tests

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The fast bowler hurt himself while trying to stop a Ross Taylor drive on the last day of the WTC final

Ishant Sharma required multiple stitches on his bowling hand after sustaining an injury on the last day of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, but the pacer is expected to be fit in time for India’s five-match Test series against England that starts on August 4.

Sharma tried to stop a drive from Ross Taylor in what turned out to be the penultimate over of the final. He left the field with his hand bleeding, having bowled only two balls in his seventh over, with Jasprit Bumrah completing it.

“Ishant has had multiple stitches on his middle and fourth finger in his right hand. However, it is not very serious,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI. “The stitches will be off in around ten days and with six weeks left for the first Test against England, he is expected to recover in time.”



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Eng vs SL 2021 – Jos Buttler ruled out of Sri Lanka white-ball series with calf injury

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Dawid Malan added to ODI squad after MRI scans reveal small calf tear

Jos Buttler has been ruled out of the rest of England’s white-ball series with Sri Lanka. Buttler sustained a calf tear in Wednesday’s first T20I and will now return home to commence his rehabilitation.

Buttler, England’s vice-captain and wicketkeeper, scored an unbeaten 68 opening the batting in the first T20I. According to the ECB, he “felt tightness and discomfort” at the end of the game and was sent for an MRI scan on Thursday morning, which revealed a small tear. He sat out the second T20I, which England won by five wickets.

England had already suggested they may use the Sri Lanka T20Is to experiment, with Jonny Bairstow moving up to open in Buttler’s absence – although he made a three-ball duck as England initially struggled in their chase of 112. Liam Livingstone, whose unbeaten 29 helped secure victory, regularly opens in T20 cricket and could also deputise.



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ENG vs SL 2nd T20I – Mickey Arthur on England and Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s head coach said he wants the batsmen to be more proactive against a world-class England attack

Mickey Arthur has urged his Sri Lanka side to stay patient after they slipped to a second defeat in as many nights in Cardiff, leaving them on a run of 11 defeats in their last 12 completed T20Is dating back to October 2019.
Opting to bat first in both games after winning the toss, Sri Lanka posted scores of 129 and 111, and while they came much closer to defending their total on Thursday night than in Wednesday’s eight-wicket pasting, they always looked a long way short of a par score, failing to hit a boundary in the powerplay for the first time in their T20I history. Arthur, Sri Lanka’s head coach, stressed at the start of the tour that he wanted to add a level of consistency to selection following a turbulent period of chopping and changing, and that it would be important to “nail down the guys’ roles” in this series.
Dasun Shanaka, with scores of 50 and 8 from No. 7, is their leading run-scorer in the series, with Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando – backed as opening options for the long term – both struggling to make an impact at the top of the order. Their lack of attacking intent with the bat came under scrutiny on Thursday, but while Arthur suggested that they could be “more proactive” in future, he said that there had been limited opportunities to score against a “world-class” England side on a slow, two-paced pitch being used for the second night in a row.



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