Ross Taylor has been in good form with bat off late © AFP
Ross Taylor has been in good form with bat off late © AFP

Wellington: Jan 18, 2015

New Zealand cricket great Mark Greatbatch has revealed how he coached a 12-year-old Ross Taylor and recalls how the batsman was very raw and reminded of him of a smaller version of Ijaz Ahmed, The Axe Cutter from Pakistan. Greatbatch, a former batsman and New Zealand coach, took to coaching after his playing days were over, and went on to mentor Central Districts (CD), Warwickshire and New Zealand.

Greatbatch recalls his coaching days with CD, when he was still sending balls scorching through cover or sailing over midwicket and a 12-year-old Ross Taylor approached the pavilion at Masterton’s Queen Elizabeth Park, Stuff.co.nz reported. The former batsman said that they were playing a first-class game and Taylor wandered up an introduced himself, adding that the young man asked if he could do the drinks and be the 12th man over the three days.

Greatbatch claimed that he asked Taylor if he plays, and the young man replied that he did. He revealed that he asked Taylor to bring his gear down. So Greatbatch recalls that Taylor did a day’s work with them in the dressing room and was great and a good kid and then he went out after the day’s play with the young batsman and his gear and started throwing some balls to him.

And, the New Zealand great claimed that the 12-year-old started hitting them back rather firmly so he thought he better go back three or four yards and ended up having to do that another couple of times. Greatbatch claimed that Taylor was very raw and his memory of him was of Ahmed, adding that the 12-year-old was like a smaller version of him.

Taylor impressed Greatbatch so much that the former batsman talked to a few people around the CD age-group system about getting the boy some better cricket, and Taylor had no sooner turned 13 than he was scoring hundreds for CD’s under-15 team. Greatbatch was also instrumental in Taylor becoming a boarder at Palmerston North Boys’ High School, where the youngster’s cricket really blossomed, the report added.