Taylor raring to go

One thing hasn't changed for Ross Taylor: he's still as passionate as ever about representing the BLACKCAPS.

"I'll do that with immense pride over the next six weeks of this ANZ International Series", says Ross from inside the BLACKCAPS' camp in Auckland. "The desire to be the best batsman I can be has never changed, not since I was a five-year-old learning my cricket in Masterton.

"I'm looking forward to putting on the new uniform tomorrow and hopefully scoring some runs against a challenging attack. I think it will be a heck of a contest."
Taylor last played a full series against England in England in 2008, and is relishing the chance to take them on at home in the ANZ International Series.
"They're clearly a very good side with some world-class players", he says. "It wasn't so long ago that they were the world champions in the Twenty20 format, and we saw from the warm-up games in Whangarei and performances from the likes of Broad and Buttler that they are going to be a class opponent from the start, with these three ANZ Twenty20s opening the Series."

What's on his mind as he heads into the exciting first encounter at Eden Park?

"Eden Park has a short straight boundary and we need to be smart about how we attack that with the bat and defend it with the ball. And just generally we need to use our knowledge of our home pitches to our advantage, where we can."

Ross says it's also been exciting for him joining a BLACKCAPS squad that includes several fresh faces.

"They've brought a new enthusiasm to the team which is great for all of us who have been around for a while. Watching a new player come in is always a great reminder about how exciting it is to have the opportunity to test yourself in the amazing atmosphere of international cricket, and the vibe in the team has really been fantastic. And, personally, I haven't batted with the likes of Hamish Rutherford before, only against him, so I'm looking forward to perhaps getting the opportunity to bat with such an attacking talent."

His own preparation is coming along well, even if he hasn't quite had the volume of runs he would have liked to have had, heading back into BLACKCAPS duty.

"It's about getting into a groove for me and when that happens, I'll be fully confident. Already in our trainings this week I've felt I haven't been far away, so I'm feeling good."

Certainly by the time the ANZ Tests begin, he anticipates feeling like he's never been away.

"We need better performances in the test arena, we know that and I am absolutely intent on giving my best to contribute to that," he says.

Taylor already averages a highly respectable 43.87 in test cricket but, like all fine players, he would love to push that into the elite territory over 50.00.

"Test cricket has always been very special to me, it is important to each one of us and behind the scenes we put in as much work as humanly possible to become better players.

"This ANZ International Series is massive for all of us, make no mistake about that. We're hungry to perform in front of our home crowds and cricket fans, and really want to give them some great memories of going along to watch us take on England. We'd like to impress the Barmy Army! It will be, as I say, a great challenge, but I'm really looking forward to being out there in the middle and taking it on."

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