Auckland: New Zealand's Ross Taylor has admitted the century he scored in Wednesday's defeat to England has eased the pressure on him as he makes his way back into the side following a self-imposed break.
Taylor had opted out of New Zealand's tour to South Africa after declining the Test captaincy against the backdrop of a split-captaincy method and coach Mike Hesson reportedly questioning his ability to lead the team. Taylor returned to the national side ahead of the current England series and made 13, 4 and 6 in the three Twenty20 internationals followed by 22 in the ODI opener. In the second match in Napier, Taylor hit 100 off 119 balls to revive New Zealand's innings from 19 for 2, and said the century had eased doubts about his ability.
"There are a lot of emotions going through your mind and body. Obviously with what's gone on it was nice to know that I can still bat. I didn't feel great out there but it's even more satisfying to know that you can still score runs when you don't feel quite 100 per cent," said Taylor ahead of the third match on Saturday. "Coming out in every game and getting a pretty amazing reception, it's not normal and you do put extra pressure on yourself, whether consciously or subconsciously. I think I did put a lot of pressure on myself.
However, the New Zealand batsman acknowledged that he was still not fully comfortable being back in the team.
"Every time you play international cricket it's nice to be able to get up for it and having the crowd do that makes it even easier to get up for it as long as you don't get too hyped. It is a nice feeling and I guess the hundred was for all of the people who have supported me for the last little while."
Asked about his relationship with Hesson, Taylor acknowledged that it was not the most friendly at the moment. "He (Hesson) speaks to all the individuals. I haven't had a lot to talk with Hess about. He comes and has the odd chat. Everything's going fine. I don't know what else to say," said Taylor. "The time I've been in the team I've felt like I never left. Different aspects have changed but these are still the same team-mates I've played with and hopefully I can score a few more runs for them and win a few more games for New Zealand."
New Zealand will be without experienced opener Martin Guptill for the remainder of the England series, putting more pressure on Taylor to bolster the batting in the final ODI and the Tests that follow.