Ross Taylor has confirmed this summer will be his last for the BLACKCAPS, marking the end of a remarkable 16-year international career.
Taylor signalled his intentions on the eve of the BLACKCAPS-Bangladesh Walton Test series, starting in Mount Maunganui on Saturday, confirming the two-match series would be his last in the Test whites, before bowing out in the ODIs against Australia and Netherlands later this summer.
The 37-year-old has been a mainstay in the BLACKCAPS batting order since making his debut in 2006, amassing a plethora of records and achievements, most notably rising to the top of New Zealand’s runs scoring (18,074) and appearances (445) charts.
Taylor acknowledged it wasn’t an easy decision to make but felt the time was right.
“It’s been an amazing journey and I feel incredibly fortunate to have represented my country for as long as I have,” he said.
“It’s been such a privilege to play with and against some of the greats of the game and to have created so manymemories and friendships along the way.
“But all good things must come to an end and the timing feels right for me.
“I want to thank my family, friends and all those who have helped me get to this point.
“There’ll be plenty of time for more thank-yous and reflections later in the season - but for now I want all my energy and focus to be on preparing and performing for the BLACKCAPS this summer.”
Coach Gary Stead said Taylor would undoubtedly bow out as one of New Zealand’s greats.
“Ross has always been a hugely respected member of the side and we’re thankful for his contributions to the BLACKCAPS over an incredible career.
“His skills and temperament as a batsman have been world-class and his ability to perform at such a high level for so long speaks volumes of his longevity and professionalism.
“His experience has held the side together on countless occasions and his catching record speaks for itself. There’s no doubt we’re going to miss him when he’s gone.
“Seeing him hit the winning runs in Southampton to help win our first ICC World title is a moment I will never forget and I’m sure it’s the same for many of the fans.
“I know Ross is really focused on performing well in these remaining series and going out on the right note.”
BLACKCAPS captain Kane Williamson, unavailable for the Bangladesh series while he rehabilitates an elbow injury, said Taylor had given his all to the New Zealand team over the years, and wished him well for the upcoming two Tests.
“Ross has been at the core of the side for so long and can be extremely proud of having brought the game in this country to a better place.
“He’s a world class player, our best with the bat over such a long period of time and personally it’s been a pleasure to be involved in so many partnerships with him across the formats.
“We’ve shared some pretty cool moments together – most recently the World Test Championship Final which was obviously really special.
“As a senior player and a leader in the group he’s been a fantastic support person for me, especially out there in the field being able to tap into his experience.
“It’s a really exciting time for Ross when he can reflect on so many amazing moments throughout his career and I know all the guys are also looking forward to sharing the occasions with him as he is such a special player to this team.”
NZC chief executive David White said everyone knew this day would, eventually, arrive - but no-one wanted it to.
“Ross has been such a successful and influential part of the BLACKCAPS in all three formats that it’s hard to imagine the side without him,” he said.
“He’s been a colossus in the Test team; one of the chief contributors to the success New Zealand has achieved over the past eight or nine years, and one of our few, true batting “greats”.
“And he’s also been a giant of the white ball formats – particularly the 50-over game, in which he’s excelled.”
Mr White said Taylor was a leader, a fighter, and a terrific example for all who played alongside and against him.
“He’s very much earned the mana and respect he carries today.”
Taylor said he would remain available for Central Districts until the end of the season before making a decision on whether to continue playing domestic cricket.
Ross Taylor Records
Most runs for NZ in Tests (7584)
Most runs for NZ in ODIs (8581)
Most runs for NZ over all formats (18,074)
Most ODI 100s for NZ (21)
Most 100s for NZ in international cricket (40)
Most appearances for NZ in international cricket (445)
One of only four New Zealanders to play 100 tests (Vettori 112, Fleming 111, Taylor 110, McCullum 101)
First player from any country to make 100 international appearances in each of the three formats
Most catches for NZ by a fielder in international cricket (346)
Highest Test score in Australia by a visiting player (290 at Perth 2015). (There's been 432 tests played in Australia)
This is Taylor's 20th season in first-class cricket. Currently the longest surviving NZ first-class player still active (debut 2002/03)