In an era where there have been a lot of headlines about the “Big 4” of Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root, it has been easy to overlook the phenomenal accomplishments of Ross Taylor. He scored more runs at number four than any other batsman in ODI history. He's scored roughly as much as Michael Clarke and Jacques Kallis combined, but at a higher average and strike rate than either of those gentlemen.
He has been the batsman with the highest average in the world over the last twelve months, which is quite impressive considering the calibre of the current players. As good as Virat Kohli has been (and that's exceptionally good), Taylor has averaged 20 percent more runs per innings.
His game is built on a fairly simple batting plan. Early on he tries to work straight balls for singles, and score boundaries from short or good length balls outside off, through either the cut shot or cover drive. Then, once it's time to accelerate, he brings out the slog sweep.
Once he gets to his hundred (something that's happened quite regularly recently) he takes off his helmet and pokes out his tongue in celebration. Although we like to watch his play, his daughter back at home is pretty much just waiting to see her Dad’s tongue. She knows it’s a special gesture just for her.
At the end of most of the series, a lot of the equipment that Taylor had used gets packed up and donated to the Samoan Cricket Association, to help grow the game back in his mother's homeland.
This will be Taylor's fourth World Cup, and, given that he's 35, it's likely to be his last. A big tournament could be a fitting farewell to one of the most underappreciated players in the world right now.
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