Former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor feels the suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL) ‘played into India’s hands’, giving Virat Kohli’s team more time to get acclimatised to English conditions before next month’s World Test Championship final. The IPL 2021, which was suspended earlier this month due to multiple cases of COVID-19 inside its bubble, was due to finish on May 30, while the WTC final between New Zealand and Indian is scheduled to start from June 18 in Southampton.
“For India, IPL finishing early under unfortunate circumstances has probably played into their hands a little,” Taylor told reporters in Southampton on Sunday. “If IPL would have gone on they would have had a smaller preparation but now they will be a lot more conditioned, their bowlers will have their loads up,” he added.
However, Taylor reckons New Zealand will still have slight advantage over India as they are are scheduled to play two Tests against England in the run up to the WTC final. “I would be lying if you think there isn’t some sort of thought about the WTC final but I couldn’t think of a better preparation than playing two Tests against England. At the end of the day it’s a neutral venue.
“Playing two Tests gives us a slight advantage but this Indian team has been number one for a long period of time and has had a lot of success over here,” he added.
There had been some talks that the BCCI has requested to alter the schedule for India’s five-Test series against England for completing the IPL, something the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has denied.
Asked if he was concerned about the future of international cricket amid T20 leagues’ boom, Taylor said, “IPL is probably the most high-profile and countries move it around when they don’t have the same power. It is what it is, players want to play in it. I hope that international cricket still has relevance and priorities at times. As long as things are being moved around it is fine… As long as they aren’t getting cancelled and what not.”
The right hander, who has featured in 195 Tests, 233 ODIs and 102 T20Is for New Zealand, said most cricketer would still consider international cricket as the pinnacle.
“It’s changed a lot form when I started – IPL, the movement and players. We, as team, weren’t able to play in the whole IPL, we played only a couple of weeks. It’s a move for the good but I hope international cricket is still the pinnacle and I’m sure of it. You ask most of the international cricketers and that’s the case.”
Taylor brushes aside ‘retirement’ talk
The 37-year-old also squashed rumours regarding his retirement. “Age is just a number and as long as you’re still enjoying it and feel like you’re good enough and can contribute to the team on and off the field. I did have 35 in my mind because of the 2019 World Cup but I went there and felt I could still contribute, and therefore, I didn’t think just because it was a World Cup it was time to retire, but no I don’t have a number in mind,” he added.