TODAY |

Ross Taylor within touching distance of reaching Test century milestone

If Ross Taylor wasn't nervous enough about his return to the New Zealand Test side after eye surgery, the Black Caps batsman is in sight of a historic individual achievement.

After a score of 102 not out against Pakistan in his last innings for his country, Taylor is now just one Test match century behind legend and mentor, Martin Crowe.

As he prepares to face Bangladesh in the first Test in Wellington on Thursday, Taylor returns to a ground which has bought him success in the past.

From his nine Tests played at the Basin, Taylor averages a touch under 56 with the bat, compared to his career average of just under 47.

Needless to say, the stars could be alinged for Taylor to equal his hero Crowe against Bangladesh later this week.

Yet despite all of the statistics that suggest his undeniable class, Taylor doesn't quite get the respect from New Zealand cricket fans.

Ross Taylor can be seen poking his tongue out after scoring a century. Source: 1 NEWS

Having made his name in the side following the retirements of Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan, Taylor has been the backbone of a side that hasn't always performed to the best of its abilities.

Much maligned in the last few years, Taylor's performances with the bat speak for themselves, having scored 31 international hundreds for New Zealand, 16 in Tests and 15 in One Day internationals.

That number puts him ahead of Crowe (21 centuries), Fleming (17), Astle (27) and even the likes of Brendon McCullum (also 17).

Even after struggling for form at times, Taylor is deservedly one of the first names on the Black Caps teamsheet in all forms of the game.

The batsman spoke about missing the last series with Bangladesh ahead of the first Test in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS

Love him or loathe him, there is no argument that can be made to exclude Taylor from the list of our greatest cricketers.

He may not hit he ball the way that McCullum or Martin Guptill do, nor does he have the grace of Kane Williamson, but Ross Taylor would make his way in just about any side in world cricket, something that goes unnoticed among his own supporters.