New Zealand Cricket has declined to respond in detail to Ross Taylor’s claims that chief executive Dave White over-ruled his nomination for a player-of-the-year award in 2018 and that “someone from NZC” also asked a panel to reconsider his 2014 award.
Taylor won back-to-back Sir Richard Hadlee Medals in 2012-13 and 2013-14, but the former Black Caps captain has said NZC questioned his second-year selection.
He made the claim in his new book, Ross Taylor: Black & White, published this week, and also alleged he was snubbed by NZC’s then-chairman Stuart Heal at the awards ceremony in 2014.
Taylor also claimed in a Sky Sport interview on Thursday that he missed out on the 2017-18 award – it was given to Trent Boult – after chief executive David White questioned an independent panel’s nomination of Taylor.
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NZC declined to stuff request for an interview about Taylor’s claim, but said in a statement that it “acknowledges Ross Taylor’s wonderful career for the Black Caps and the huge contribution he’s made to cricket in New Zealand”.
“We’re comfortable with the judging process for our annual awards, we note Ross has won the supreme award on three occasions, and we congratulate him on a stellar career.”
when stuff sought direct comment about the claim about White’s involvement in the 2017-18 award decision, a NZC spokesman said they did not want to comment beyond their initial statement.
Taylor told Sky interviewer Laura McGoldrick on Thursday that there was no awards ceremony when he got the 2012-13 award.
“It might not have been a good look if I ended up winning the Sir Richard Hadlee Medal after the way I had been treated. [in losing the captaincy].”
In his book, Taylor recalled the backdrop to the Hadlee Medal award in 2013-14, Brendon McCullum’s first full season as Black Caps captain after taking over from Taylor, who was sacked in 2012 after a tour to Sri Lanka.
“I’d made five centuries [in 2013-14], but given that Brendon had become the first New Zealander to make a test triple century and had also made a double hundred, I knew it had to be a close call,” Taylor wrote. “I didn’t realize just how close.
“The player of the year was chosen by a panel of former New Zealand selector and cricket identity Don Neely, the then convener, Ian Smith, and Bryan Waddle.
“They deliberated and communicated their decision – that Ross Taylor was player of the year – to New Zealand Cricket. NZC came straight back asking them to reconsider.”
Taylor’s claim was backed up by Smith, who said in the book that Neely “said we’d been asked to review”.
“I don’t think he said we must make another choice, but someone from NZC told Don we had to look at it again.
“We did get pressure, there’s no doubt about that. In the end, we basically said, ‘No we’re not looking at it again. We made that decision in the first place and that decision stands’.”
Smith said their decision to award Taylor the Hadlee Medal “wasn’t out of sympathy or anything like that. We didn’t pick Ross because we felt sorry for him – he just had a damn good year.”
Taylor said it was “an interesting awards night” when he received the medal in 2014.
“Stuart Heal, the recently installed NZC chairman and a former chairman of Otago cricket, presented Brendon with a special award to mark his triple century.
“During the evening I walked past Heal three times; he didn’t say a word to me.
“A couple of board members did congratulate me on winning back-to-back Sir Richard Hadlee Medals, but they were certainly in the minority.
“I assumed the others categorized me as a troublemaker because I hadn’t gone [from the captaincy] quietly.”
Waddle said in the book he wasn’t sure about the background to the 2014 medal discussions because he wasn’t panel convenor then, but he did recall an exchange when Taylor was shortlisted for the 2017-18 award.
Waddle said the panel had narrowed their choice down to three names and were “pretty much deadlocked” at 1-1.
“Someone from NZC got in touch with me a couple of times to find out where we were at.
“I explained the situation to him and said that it looked as though it was going to be Ross Taylor. That led to an exchange of views: he expressed a preference for Trent Boult.
The panel “held firm”, said Waddle, who went back to NZC and said: “This is our recommendation, this is what you’ve asked us to do. They’re your awards and you don’t have to accept our recommendation if that’s the way you feel about it.
“I thought that was the only reasonable way to get out of it. They could do whatever they wanted – and they did. Trent Boult was the winner.”
The identity of the NZC official who spoke to Waddle was not revealed in the book.
But Taylor told Sky Sports this week that Waddle had told the book’s co-author Paul Thomas that it was David White, who had asked the panel to reconsider the 2017-18 award.
“Bryan Waddle told Paul he was the convenor in 2018 and that ‘David White rang and asked who was the player-of-the-year?’,” Taylor said. “Bryan Waddle said to David White, ‘Ross Taylor’s our Sir Richard Hadlee medalist. David White said, ‘I don’t think so’.”
Waddle went back to the other panellists, and then told White their decision was unanimous, Taylor said, but the broadcaster also said to White, “it’s your awards, David you can change it if you want’ … and they went with Trent Boult.”
Taylor said he “wasn’t sure what David’s reasons were, but they took it off me”.
He said he did not know it had happened at the time, but when he learned about it later in the year “it probably didn’t sit that well with me at the time”.
Taylor went on to win his third Hadlee Medal in 2020.