Barras impress NZ’s Taylor


FORMER New Zealand test captain Ross Taylor opened up to the ICC in his personal blog about his experience with the Hebou Papua New Guinea Barramundis as a consultant coach in the recently-completed tour of the United Arab Emirates.
“This week has been an incredible experience for me,” Taylor said.
“As a Kiwi proud of my Pacific Island heritage, I have welcomed the opportunity to spend a week with the Papua New Guinea team in the desert heat of the UAE as they seek to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.”
“Growing up as boy and having a Samoan mother, I often reflect on my Pacific Island heritage and with such a big Polynesian community in New Zealand, I have always felt very strongly about giving back to my community.
“After discussions with the New Zealand Players Cricket Association I had some ideas on how I best could help give back through cricket.
“I had previously worked with the developing cricket world alongside my good friend Murphy Su’a — the first Samoan to play cricket for New Zealand.
“He had a big influence on the growth of Samoan cricket and I supported him in attending an ICC regional qualifying event that Samoa was competing in.
“It was there that I became aware of just how big cricket was in the Pacific Islands.
“So when the opportunity arose through the ICC’s East Asia Pacific office to be part of the coaching team with Cricket PNG, I jumped at it.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived, but I was pretty open minded. I have been very impressed by the entire Cricket PNG set-up.
“The culture of the team is incredible.
“In true Pasifika style, it is family-orientated and a friendly team, who were very welcoming.
“Culture goes a long way in cricket and this group has it in abundance. It is a big advantage how close they are as a team, especially when the going gets tough,” the proud Samoan said.
“I have been working closely with the players and coaches, initially just watching and getting to know them. We have focused on how to tackle different situations of success and failure; preparing to bat, varying training methods and sharpening game awareness. A lot of the guys’ longest form of cricket back home is two-day cricket, so adapting game plans to succeed in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup has been a focus of our work.
“PNG has had a lot of success in the shorter form of the game in the 50-over ICC World Cricket League Championship and is in a very good position to make the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, which directly qualifies to the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019. The team is very much aware of the journey it is on and the prize at the end of it.
“As a result, the team has been asking lots of questions and its players have been extremely receptive with the information they have been given. Hopefully they can get a lot out of it for the time I am here as they have been awesome to deal with.
“The success of teams like Afghanistan and Ireland is so exciting to see, the competitive level on the international scene continues to grow, with players being picked up for domestic leagues across the world.
“PNG are a part of this and we need more competitive teams as it pushes us all to improve and make international cricket more exciting.
“The game is growing in PNG with a staggering 165,500 participants involved in our great game. The progress already made in the Pacific in the growth of the game is exciting, but I think it’s a collective responsibility for the whole cricket family to support and aid the development of cricket across the region and the world.
“New Zealand Cricket is being supportive of me being here and are exploring opportunities of return trips.
“I’ve really enjoyed being able to give back to the game that has given me so much enjoyment and opportunity. The New Zealand Players Cricket Association have been incredibly supportive in organizing my trip here. I look forward to watching PNG’s progress and being involved with them in the future,” Taylor said.
The Hebou PNG Barramundis flew back into Port Moresby on Sunday, finishing the month-long tour with a 2-1 defeat in the One Day Internationals (ODIs), defeat in the Round 5 ICC Inter-Continental Cup (ICUP) and a 3-0 defeat in the T20I series.
Ross Taylor is a former New Zealand test captain, and currently part of the Black Caps test and one day international (ODI) sides.
He has played T20 international (T20I) for New Zealand as well.
Taylor joined the Hebou PNG Barramundis as a consultant coach in the UAE after the test series against South Africa in New Zealand, where he suffered a low grade calf tear in the 1st test.
Taylor, who is part Samoan, has played 81 test matches, averaging 47.10 with the bat with a highest score of 290 against Australia in the 2015/16 Season in Australia.
This score was Taylor’s highest score and became the highest score by a New Zealand batsman in an away test match.
Taylor has also played 183 ODIs for New Zealand with a healthy batting average of 43.57, which included a highest score of 131 not out against Pakistan in the 2011 ICC World Cup in the sub-continent.
Taylor has also played 73 T20Is for New Zealand, averaging 24.15 with the bat, with a competitive strike-rate of 120.07, scoring five half centuries.

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