Bond lauds Taylor ahead of 100th Test and backs Black Caps to beat India

By Sports Desk February 20, 2020

Shane Bond has hailed the "incredible" Ross Taylor as a New Zealand great ahead of his 100th Test and believes the Black Caps will secure a series win over India.

Taylor will become the first player to make 100 appearances for his country in all formats when he faces Virat Kohli's side in a first Test that gets under way at Basin Reserve on Friday.

The prolific batsman has established himself as one of the best batsmen in the world since making his international debut back in 2006 and was man of the series in a 3-0 ODI whitewash of India this month.

Bond was a team-mate of Taylor's when he made his Test, ODI and Twenty20 International debuts and the paceman has also been part of the Black Caps coaching staff after retiring in 2010.

The former quick says Taylor, who turns 36 next month, will go down as one of the best players New Zealand have ever produced.

He told Omnisport: "I've known Rosco for a long time, he's a ripping bloke and he's been a sensational player for New Zealand. He's definitely one of our greatest players.

"I didn't think he'd achieve what he has done in Test cricket, I think he's redefined himself. At the start he was a dynamic white-ball player, he could score all around the wicket a rate of knots.

"He's changed his player to also be an incredible Test player. He's changed the way he plays in one-day cricket to clearly be one of the best in the world, but now T20 as well.

"That's the sign of a great player is to continue to reinvent himself, continue to develop his game and I think what he has done has been remarkable, he's been such a stalwart for New Zealand and has been a massive part of some strong performances at major tournaments."

Bond says Taylor has plenty more runs in him yet at the highest level and can feature in the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

"It's great to see what he has achieved and hopefully he'll be going for a few more years, because I know he's motivated to keep going and he's enjoying his cricket," he added.

"I think the way he's playing, in one-day cricket he's our best player form-wise. He's talked about the next World Cup and players are going on for longer in the modern game, so I certainly wouldn't count that out as long as he's hungry and churning out runs he can be in there as long as he wants."

India have won all seven games in the ICC World Test Championship and top the rankings, but Bond thinks New Zealand can bring them back down to earth.

Asked if he is confident of a series win, he replied: "Yeah I think so, we won the last series here against them when they had a really good team.

"I think the Indian bowling attack has improved; Ishant [Sharma], [Jasprit ] Bumrah, [Mohammed] Shami is a quality line-up. You need that here.

"It's going to be challenging for New Zealand, but we are tough to beat in our own conditions and the toss is important, because the wickets tend to do a bit then just flatten out and don't turn - especially Wellington and Christchurch.

"New Zealand will miss [Neil] Wagner in the first Test, but it's an attritional game here and because New Zealand are a very fit team, they have worn teams down. I think it'll be incredibly close and because it doesn't turn, that probably takes away some of the weapons India have."

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