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Should not focus only on Kohli: Ross Taylor

Taylor pointed out India has other batsmen too, who can change the course of the game

By Our Bureau in Calcutta

  • Published 22.01.19, 3:34 AM
  • Updated 22.01.19, 10:23 AM
India's captain Virat Kohli
India's captain Virat Kohli Telegraph picture

Ross Taylor termed Virat Kohli as “quite easily” the best ODI player, but is also wary about New Zealand getting fixated about the India captain.

Since the past year, Kohli has been sensational in 50 overs cricket as his batting has been one of the main reasons behind India’s consistent showing in the format.

Taylor, New Zealand’s second-most prolific run-scorer of all time behind only Stephen Fleming, also heaped praise on Kohli ahead of the limited-overs series between India and New Zealand, starting with the first ODI on Wednesday in Napier.

However, Taylor warned his side against focusing too much on just Kohli, pointing out that India’s batting order has other batsmen too who can change the course of the game, particularly openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.

“He (Kohli)’s a sensational player, the best ODI player going around, quite easily,” Taylor told stuff.co.nz.

“It’s easy to get caught up in him. But they have got two pretty good openers at the top — Sharma and Dhawan — before Kohli gets in. So, we shouldn’t focus only on him.”

Like Kohli, Taylor too has been in sublime form, particularly in ODIs. Finishing 2018 as New Zealand’s most prolific run-scorer, he began the new year with a bang too, amassing 281 runs from three innings against Sri Lanka to top the batting charts.

“I’ve played a few internationals now and understand my role in the team,” said Taylor. “I’ve worked on my game and try and rotate the strike early and be as busy as I can.

“Different shots against spinners at different stages maybe have evolved my game in a positive way.”

New Zealand were a little worried after Taylor sustained a minor injury — a dislocation of his little finger — ahead of the India series. But Taylor allayed concerns, saying he had fully recovered.

“It’s fine. It looks a lot sorer than it is … No break, but the ligaments were a bit sore,” he said.

A natural pitch rather than the work-in-progress drop-in will be used at McLean Park on Wednesday after two domestic T20 runfests on the nearby strip. Some big scores are in the offing on what Taylor was told would be an even harder, bouncier surface.

“It (McLean Park) always holds a special place for me. I made my debut here and got my first ODI hundred (against Sri Lanka in 2006). It’s nice to play in front of family and friends, and it’s been a while,” he said.

His father Neil wouldn’t be there, though. One of Taylor’s biggest fans and regular attendee will miss the trip from Wairarapa to undergo hernia surgery.

“Dad’s a bit gutted. He rang the surgeon and tried to get it moved, but he couldn’t.”

Meanwhile, all-rounder Doug Bracewell was looking forward to the challenge of playing India in the run-up to the World Cup.

“We’re going to find out where we are as a team against one of the best sides in the world,” Bracewell said.

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