New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor quietly becomes ODI behemoth

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New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor.

When you talk of the best batsmen in limited overs cricket, names likes Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jonny Bairstow come to mind.

India captain Kohli is by far and away the most dominant batsman in ODI cricket and his recent record proves that. Since the beginning of 2018, Kohli has amassed 1,202 runs in 14 matches at an average of more than 133 with six centuries and three fifties. Those numbers are almost unheard of and he has been at it for a few seasons, mastering the art of batting in ODI cricket and becoming the all-time best in the format.

In the period mentioned above, only two other batsmen have scored more than 1000 runs in ODIs – Rohit (19 ODIs) and Bairstow (22 games). To match Kohli’s numbers takes some doing and no one has done it successfully.

But one batsman has dared to do so and has come fairly close to Kohli’s numbers. New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor doesn’t pop up on many cricket followers’ radar when talking about ODI batting. But a look at his numbers in the last 12 months make for incredible reading.

In his last 14 ODIs, Taylor has amassed 920 runs at an average of 92 with three tons and six fifties. He crossed fifty in his last six innings and scored the 20th ton of his career in the third ODI against Sri Lanka.

It has been a remarkable revival in fortunes for the 34-year-old. In 2016, Taylor had to take a break from cricket after a growth in his left eye hampered his vision and had to be removed surgically.

Taylor has vision problems for some time and it was feared it might cost him his career. But the Kiwi middle order batsman returned from that medical scare with renewed vigour.

That New Zealand are one the most consistent performers in all formats and conditions is down to the synergy between veterans like Taylor and stars like Kane Williamson, and bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Taylor is providing the solidity in the middle which allows Kiwi batting to flourish in all conditions and against all opposition.

In Taylor, the Kiwis have yet another highly effective player who goes about his business with the minimum of fuss. The Blackcaps are so likeable that their fine record slips under the radar; they beat Pakistan in Tests in the UAE 2-1, thrashed England by an innings at home and in ODIs have won 11 out of 16 matches. That’s as great as Taylor’s run in ODIs.

After his 20th ODI century – most by a Kiwis – this week, Taylor said he just wants to make the most of this form in a World Cup year. “It was nice to get the 20th hundred, I would have taken that at the start of my career. I’m getting old, so hopefully, I’ve got a few more in me”. He definitely has a few more up his sleeve.

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Ex-WI quick Fidel Edwards rejoins Hampshire for fifth straight season

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Fidel Edwards.

Former West Indies paceman Fidel Edwards will rejoin Hampshire for a fifth successive season.

Edwards enjoyed his most prolific campaign for the south coast club last year, leading their wicket-taking charts in the County Championship with 54 scalps at an average of 26.72.

The 36-year-old, who took 165 wickets in in 55 Tests for the Windies between 2003 and 2012, will once again be available for the entirety of this year’s championship.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White said: “It’s great to have Fidel back with us again next season.

“He’s been an important part of the squad since joining us in 2015 and he had an excellent season for us last year.

“His pace adds variety and offers something different to our attack and he’s a very popular player within the group – having him around for 2019 is another real positive for us.”

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ICC offers 15-day amnesty to informants in Sri Lanka corruption probe

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ICC Academy in Dubai. Image for representation only.

The International Cricket Council has taken the unprecedented step of announcing a 15-day amnesty to anyone who has not previously come forward about corruption in Sri Lanka.

Under the initiative which will run from January 16-31, any domestic or international participant who divulges full details of any approach, incident or information relating to malpractice on the island will not face a charge.

Failure to do so normally would incur a ban from cricket of up to five years.

But Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, highlighted the “very specific challenges we face in Sri Lanka” as a reason for presenting the measure.

Those who wish to come forward can do so via phone, email or via the ICC Integrity App, while there will also be an ACU representative based in Sri Lanka throughout the duration of the amnesty.

Marshall said in quotes on the ICC’s official website: “This is the first time the ICC has held an amnesty and it is in response to the very specific challenges we face in Sri Lanka.

“Allowing retrospective reporting of alleged approaches to engage in corrupt conduct will assist in our ongoing and wide-ranging investigations, as well as enabling us to continue to develop a comprehensive picture of the situation there.

“If any player or participant has any information concerning corrupt conduct they should come forward and share it with us now without fear of any repercussions.

“We would urge any participant with any information that may demonstrate corrupt conduct affecting Cricket in Sri Lanka to come forward in the strictest of confidence.”

Marshall and his team have been investigating potential corrupt practices in Sri Lanka in recent months. Former captain and chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya was charged with two breaches of the ICC’s anti-corruption code last October. The 49-year-old defended his “integrity and transparency” as he denied any wrongdoing.

Provided by Press Association

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