‘A matter of time’ before England’s Root back in form, New Zealand’s Taylor says

It “is only a matter of time” before England captain Joe Root rediscovers his best form, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor said ahead of the second Test at Hamilton.

Taylor made his international debut on the same day as Sir Alastair Cook, Root’s predecessor as England skipper – albeit in different formats on March 1, 2006 – and so knows the various ups and downs that come with the job.

Root is currently going through a lean patch with an average of 27.4 from his 10 Tests this year, leading to speculation about whether leading the side is hindering his ability to contribute big scores.

Ross Taylor, pictured, and Sir Alastair Cook made their first international appearances on the same day (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Ross Taylor, pictured, and Sir Alastair Cook made their first international appearances on the same day (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Former New Zealand captain Taylor said: “I wasn’t captain for as long as Root. And as captain of England, the scrutiny of the media is probably a little bit more than we get in New Zealand.

“It’s a tough balance. But first and foremost you’re a batsman and it’s a lot easier to give those messages if you’re scoring those runs.

“He’s got a very good side around him and senior players who will be taking the heat off him in other ways so that he can focus on his batting.

“He’s a world-class player, it is only a matter of time before he scores runs and, for our sake, I hope it’s not too soon.”

As for whether he has any advice for Root, Taylor responded: “He’s got to be himself and authentic to the way he plays and trust himself. Cricket can be a tough game and it can be a lonely place at times.”

In the injury-enforced absence of all-rounder Colin De Grandhomme, Taylor revealed Daryl Mitchell will make his Test debut at Seddon Park as a like-for-like replacement.

Taylor said: “Colin De Grandhomme leaves some big shoes to fill. Mitchell is making his debut. It’s obviously an exciting time for him and I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes.”

Taylor was more tight-lipped on whether Matt Henry or Lockie Ferguson would come in for the injured Trent Boult in a Test where New Zealand only need to avoid defeat to seal a series win after beating England by an innings and 65 runs in the Mount Maunganui opener.

Taylor added: “I think they’d both do very well. They are slightly different bowlers but they’ve both got their strengths. Big shoes to fill again, with Trent, but I’m sure they’ll do well.”