Taylor glad to prove doubters wrong

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Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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James Taylor delights in proving his doubters wrong, as he did with such promise in his breakthrough innings against Sri Lanka.

Taylor’s 90 could not stop England losing at the Premadasa Stadium to go 3-1 down to their hosts and they therefore need victories in all three remaining one-day internationals if they are to start their World Cup winter with a series success after all.

The diminutive batsman therefore admits to a “bitter-sweet” experience, of playing so well himself yet losing the match, but describes it as a “joy” to show his detractors what he can do.

Taylor, 24, played his only two Tests more than two years ago and – before Sunday – just two ODIs against Ireland, more than a year apart and the second 15 months ago.

In the intervening time, he has had to contend with assumptions voiced about limitations his lack of height imposes on his international aspirations – loudest of all by former England batsman Kevin Pietersen, in his controversial autobiography.

By any stretch, it has been a tough apprenticeship and one Taylor concedes has brought its frustrations.

He has never lacked self-belief, though, and after an innings of vindication must surely be bang in England’s World Cup reckoning to battle for the number three position with his Nottinghamshire team-mate Alex Hales and the much more experienced Ian Bell.

As for all those who have questioned his potential, he said: “It hasn’t affected me at all.

“If anything it gives you added motivation.

“Everybody has got their doubters. I have probably got more than most, but it doesn’t really bother me. It is just a joy to prove people wrong.”

Taylor, who whipped one trademark six over midwicket and another over long-off to go with his six fours in Colombo, describes that as merely a “glimpse” of what he can do.

“As you saw in a brief little stint yesterday, I can hit the ball over the ropes – and if you can do that, then height doesn’t matter,” he said.

“I like to think I can hit the ball as hard as anybody else. So it doesn’t bother me – it might bother others.”

He concedes he has at times found it wearing to have to restate his case so often, in the hope of the second chance which has finally arrived.

He said: “I would be lying if I said it wasn’t.

“It has been hugely frustrating, having scored the runs that I have in the past.

“But I hope that is in the past, and now I can look forward to a few more innings if I get the opportunity.

“That question is always going to be there – ‘am I going to get another go?’. I hope I do on this tour, and then it’s up to me to take it.”

Taylor’s statistics, a List A average of almost 54 at a strike rate close to 84, speak loudly in his favour.

He added: “I have scored plenty of runs in county cricket, but (also) every time I have stepped out in the Lions shirt I have scored runs against international attacks – in four-day cricket as well as one-day cricket.

“So I knew I could do it against international teams – it’s just actually stepping up and doing it on the big stage, which I managed to do.

“It’s nice to show people a glimpse of what I can do, and to be on the international stage.”

He does not shy away from the prospect of vying with Hales and Bell for that World Cup number three spot.

“That’s probably what it looks like at the minute, and it’s up to us to take the opportunity,” he acknowledged.

“I did that yesterday.

“But that was yesterday, and we have got a few more big games to come.”

Taylor will surely be the man in possession when England bid to stay in the series – weather permitting at what has been a very wet Pallekele – on Wednesday.

Captain Alastair Cook and coach Peter Moores will decide that, of course.

He said: “I would like to think I have given them a tricky decision to make – but it’s up to them.

“We have got a couple of days to the next game, and there are some big decisions on the horizon.

“I hope I’m in their thoughts.”

If Pallekele does prove a viable venue – England will discover more when they view the ground and try to practise there on Tuesday – the tourists not only need to win, but also simply must bowl their overs more quickly than they have been doing.

Cook was banned for the fourth ODI, and then his deputy Eoin Morgan was fined and warned after another infringement.

Taylor said: “We’ve got to find areas and overs, those blocks of overs, that are slowing us down – and we’ve got to work on that.

“We had a chat at the end of the game, and we know we’ve got to work on that because we can’t afford the captain to be banned again.”

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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