New Zealand veteran Ross Taylor, set to become the first player to 100 international appearances in all three formats, fondly looked back on his 14-year journey in the sport, and said he "probably got lucky with timing of things".
Taylor became only the third player to feature in 100 T20Is after Pakistan's Shoaib Malik and India's Rohit Sharma during the five-match series against India earlier this month. The first Test in the series, beginning on 21 February in Wellington, will be his 100th appearance in the format, making him the fourth New Zealander to the mark after his former captains Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum.
The 35-year-old didn't have the best start to his Test career, managing just 44 runs from two Tests during the 2007 tour to South Africa. However, a match-winning century in the following home season against England convinced him he belonged to the highest level.
To get those milestones early on definitely helped to believe that I belong and that I am good enough to play at this level.
"I think after my first Test series against South Africa, I didn't know if I would play Test cricket again," Taylor said. "I played that first series against South Africa, got dropped for Bangladesh, two Tests at home, and then I played my first Test at home against England, and I got a hundred in that first Test.
"That's probably the first time, I think, I believed that I could play at this level. [I was] probably fortunate throughout my whole career – that was my third Test, to get a hundred ... and then in my one-day career, I was able to get a hundred in my third game as well. To get those milestones early on definitely helped [me] believe that I belonged, and that I am good enough to play at this level."
Taylor is currently New Zealand's leading run-scorer in Tests with 7,174 runs from 175 innings at 46.28, having gone past Stephen Fleming's tally during the New Year's Test against Australia. He also tops New Zealand's run charts in ODIs, with 8,570 runs from 231 games. The fact that he's also been one of New Zealand's key T20I players, having featured in each of the six editions of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, furthers his credentials.
"Probably lucky with the timing of things, T20 cricket came along in 2005, and I made my debut in 2006," said the 35-year-old. "So it's probably a timing issue, to be able to get there. But it's nice, hopefully, to be the first player to do it, and hopefully with time, there's going to be a lot more players around the world.
"I have been happy with what I have achieved to date. Test cricket and cricket in general as a batter, you go through a lot of ups and downs, and that's definitely what I have been through. As a team as well. But Wellington holds a special place in my heart, and I am sure having a lot of family and friends there will be something that I will be proud of, and look back on at the end of my career with fond memories."