It’s always a mesmerizing experience to read a cricketer’s autobiography rather than a biography because it’s a “tell – “in the former version without any external interferences. Although some cricketers do indulge in writing with their career yet to cross the finish line, the majority do it only after hanging their boots.
Ross Taylor, generally known for his gentlemanly behaviour on and off the field, has released his autobiography “Black And White “. At Cricket Socials, we pick up three incidents of many from the book.
Incident One: Dravid the Rare Tiger:
The IPL, apart from all the excitement it brings, has been the perfect platform for cricketers from various countries to jell together. For example, RR purchased Ross Taylor for a million USD by Rajasthan Royals, and the other pleasure was that he shared the dressing room with Rahul Dravid and Shane Warne.
Ross, in his book, narrates one incident in which he and Dravid travelled to the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan to see the famous tigers. Following is Ross’s conversation with Taylor (simplified for this article).
Ross: ‘How many times have you seen a tiger?’
Dravid: ‘I’ve never seen a tiger. I’ve been on 21 of these expeditions and haven’t seen a single one.’
Ross was stunned. Twenty-one safaris and none were a success. He wished he had spent time with Jake Oram catching up with Baseball on the TV than travel on an unsuccessful Safari. He wished he had told Dravid, “No thanks! I’ll watch the Discovery Channel”!
Ross’s thought process was disturbed by a radio call on the vehicle. The message was that a ” T- 17″ ( a tagged tiger) had been spotted and asked Dravid to come to a specific spot. Ross thought, ” Dravid was thrilled: 21 safaris without seeing as much as a tiger turd, but half an hour into number 22, he’d hit pay dirt,”!
Ross says, “We pulled up beside the other vehicles, open-top SUVs a bit bigger than Land Rovers. The tiger was on a rock, a good 100 metres away. We were stoked to see a tiger in the wild, but the people in the other vehicles immediately aimed their cameras at Rahul. They were as excited to see him as we were to see the tiger. Maybe more: across the globe, there are almost 4000 tigers in the wild, but there’s only one Rahul Dravid,”!
Incident 2: Racism!
Taylor quit the International cricket team this year and published his book. He discusses the racism he experienced as a professional athlete. He said it would be brought up in the locker room and by some personnel and officials. Taylor, who is of Samoan ancestry, acknowledged that he had spent much of his career standing out.
: “Cricket in New Zealand is a pretty white sport. For much of my career I’ve been an anomaly, a brown face in a vanilla line-up. That has its challenges, many of which aren’t readily apparent to your teammates or the cricketing public,” Taylor wrote.
“In many ways, dressing-room banter is the barometer. A teammate used to tell me, ‘You’re half a good guy, Ross, but which half is good? You don’t know what I’m referring to’. I was pretty sure I did. Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity. In all probability, a Pakeha listening to those sorts of comments would think, ‘Oh, that’s okay, it’s just a bit of banter’. But he’s hearing it as white person, and it’s not directed at people like him. So, there’s no pushback; no one corrects them,” he continued.
“A friendly Slap Gate “.
In yet another chapter, Ross reveals that he was slapped by an owner of the RR franchise for failing to score in a crucial encounter against Kings X1 Punjab match.
Here is the embarrassing incident in Ross’s own words.
“Rajasthan played Kings XI Punjab in Mohali. The chase was 195, I was lbw for a duck, and we didn’t get close. Afterwards, the team, support staff and management were in the bar on the top floor of the hotel. Liz Hurley was there with Warnie. One of the Royals owners said to me, “Ross, we didn’t pay you a million dollars to get a duck,” and slapped me across the face three or four times. He was laughing and they weren’t hard slaps, but I’m not sure that it was entirely play-acting”.
In hindsight, Ross says he would have stayed with the RCB rather than being shifted to RR just because they outbid other franchises in the auction. Ross added
“Under the circumstances I wasn’t going to make an issue of it, but I couldn’t imagine it happening in many professional sporting environments,” he added.