Wellington, August 11: Former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor has revealed that he was offended by racial remarks from teammates and staff in New Zealand dressing rooms during his career spanning 16 years, insisting that the national cricket board could do more to bring Polynesian talent into the sport.
Taylor has a Samoan heritage on his mother's side. He announced his retirement from international cricket earlier this year and revealed in his autobiography “Ross Taylor Black and White” the racial remarks that he and other teammates endured from white players in the dressing room.
“In many ways, dressing room banter is the barometer. A team-mate used to tell me: 'You are half a good guy, Ross, but which half is good? You do not know what I am referring to.' I was pretty sure I did,” Sky Sports quoted Taylor as saying in his book.
“Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity. In all probability, a Pakeha [white New Zealander] listening to those sorts of comments would think, 'Oh, that is okay, it is just a bit of banter'.
“But he is hearing it as white person, and it is not directed at people like him. So, there is no pushback; no one corrects them,” he added.
These episodes of racism has left the New Zealander conflicted.
“You wonder if you should pull them up but worry that you will create a bigger problem or be accused of playing the race card by inflating harmless banter into racism. It is easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do?" he said.
He said some former staff members had made clumsy comments.
“Let me be clear: I do not think for one minute that they were coming from a racist perspective. I think they were insensitive and lacked the imagination and empathy to put themselves in the other person's shoes.
“Instead of the message being: 'You are one of us, mate,' it is, in effect, 'You are one of them'," he said.
More than eighty per cent of New Zealand's population is of Pacific origin.
Despite that, Taylor is one of few Pasifika players to have reached the highest level in cricket in his country.
He ended his Test career with 112 Tests and 7,683 runs at an average of 44.66. His best score in this format is 290. He has scored 19 centuries and 35 half-centuries in Tests.
Taylor played in 236 ODIs, in which he scored 8,607 runs at an average of 47.55. His best individual score in the format is 181 not out. Taylor has scored 21 centuries and 51 half-centuries in the 50-over-format.
The hard-hitting batter also represented New Zealand in 102 T20Is, scoring 1,909 runs in them at an average of 26.15. He has scored seven half-centuries in the format with the best score of 63.