The New Zealand cricket teams (test and T20) to tour South Africa are to be announced today. It's already obvious that the two sides will have different captains, but the $64 question is whether Ross Taylor will make himself available at all.
Taylor is one of our few batsmen of genuine international class. From his position at #4 in the order, especially in test matches much depends on him. If Taylor succeeds (as he did in Colombo in both innings) the New Zealanders generally post reasonable scores.
Taylor must be strongly tempted to walk away, having reportedly lost the confidence of coach Mike Hesson and senior colleagues. For Hesson to have even suggested to Taylor midway through the Sri Lankan series that his captaincy tenure was likely to end seems odd, but Taylor answered the coach in the best possible way with a man-of-the-match performance. As a motivational technique, it was certainly novel!
But we hope that Ross Taylor draws from his inner resolve and joins the team in South Africa. Cricket is a team game, and no player is more important than the team. But when that team is thin on the ground with world-class batsmen, it needs every bit of ability that it can muster.
In the meantime once the team has been named, the focus will go back on New Zealand Cricket CEO David White and his board. The dysfunction within NZC is not a new phenomenon, but it is one that must be sorted quickly if cricket is not to continue to be a laughing stock. We had hoped that David White would be the bloke to sort out the mess left by his predecessor; after these last few weeks, we're not so sure any more.