Ross Taylor, the New Zealand batsman who is enjoying a strong run of form, says he is working hard on his game in preparation for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.
"It's a World Cup year, and I've put a big focus on the tournament and on one-day cricket," Taylor said after the second one-day international against Sri Lanka on Saturday, 5 January. "There are still a few things I want to work on, but I can hopefully continue the form over the summer."
Taylor made 639 runs in 11 ODIs in 2018, at an average of 91.28, with two hundreds and four fifties. He then began the new year with two contrasting half-centuries against Sri Lanka in high-scoring games where the hosts posted 372 and 320. Saturday's effort was his fifth consecutive ODI half-century.
The former New Zealand captain believed the games were good practice for CWC 2019 in England, where the grounds are expected to make for tall totals as well. "Even though 300 is a par score, sometimes chasing 300 can be pretty intimidating," he said. "You've got to go about it in a certain way.
"I'm sure at the World Cup the scores will be very high – certainly at a few of the grounds. We've got to find ways of getting to the big scores, and also of restricting the opposition as well."
Taylor's 54 in the first ODI at Mount Maunganui came off 37 balls, as he tried to quickly build on their good start. In the second game, however, when they had lost early wickets, he was more circumspect, taking 105 balls for his 90 and only striking four boundaries and a six.
Speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Taylor expanded on the importance of changing one's game as per the requirements of the match, rather than immediately aiming for big 300-plus scores.
"Players have got to play their natural game but at the end of the day you get yourself in trouble in ODI cricket when you're four or five down at the 25-30 over mark, then you're playing catch-up and you don't give yourself a chance to express yourself," he said.
"You've got to earn the right to do that and I think we've done so in the last two games."
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