New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor, who hit the winning runs on Wednesday, expressed that winning the inaugural World Test Championship made-up for the heart-shattering loss the Kiwis suffered in the 2019 World Cup final. Taylor described the WTC Final as the biggest highlight of his career.
Ross Taylor made his international debut 15 years ago, but until Wednesday an ICC Trophy had evaded the legendary middle-order batsman. Despite breaking all batting records for his country, Taylor, for 15 years, was not able to get his hands on a major trophy and the most heart-shattering moment of his career came two years ago at Lord’s, when the Kiwis, by virtue of the boundary count rule, missed out on winning the 50-over World Cup.
But all pain was erased yesterday as the Kiwis became the inaugural World Test Champions, thumping an Indian side that many thought was impregnable. New Zealand chased 139 in the final day to complete the famous win, and, as fate had it, it was Taylor who hit the winning runs.
Speaking post the historic win, an emotional Taylor described the WTC victory the biggest highlight of his career, and further said that the victory made up for the heartbreak in 2019.
“Still sinking in but it’s been a couple of years coming. Lot of rain but the way the team fought from day one, to be out there in a crucial situation for a little bit, it’s something I’ll never forget. This would have to be the highlight of my career. At the start of my career, I felt we probably didn’t have the side to do this. But I am sure there are a few Kiwis waking up who will be very proud. There was a lot of pressure, it was nice to be standing up to it. 2019 World Cup was something that was very tough for us at the time, but this makes up for that. Over time, it’ll sink in a little more,” Taylor said.
Another experienced campaigner who, on Wednesday, got his hands on an ICC Trophy after a 13-year struggle was Tim Southee. Like Taylor, it was Southee’s contribution with both bat and ball that set-up the win for the Kiwis, and the 32-year-old claimed that the victory was a culmination of two years of effort, with consistency trumping everything else.
“We started this journey two years ago. To be sitting here as champions is special. There’s a lot of hard work that has gone into it. Consistency comes to mind: consistency through performances, consistency in selection. We do a lot for each other. It’s satisfying to achieve what we have,” Southee said.
“The turnaround dates back to beyond the last couple of years. The change room was a lot calmer knowing we had two experienced guys out there. Probably the longest 139 runs I’ve experienced. I think as any international sports person, you want to look for ways to get better. That’s what I’ve gone. This group has pushed each other to get special, work on skills and fitness.”
Southee also paid tribute to the retiring BJ Watling, who signed off from the sport in style, winning an ICC Trophy in his last ever game for the country.
“BJ Watling sums up what this team means, we wanted to send him off with a win at the start of the tour. He’s been a tremendous part of the side, he’s given this team everything he’s had, couldn’t be happier for him,” Southee said.