Taylor aims to make 2014 his breakthrough year

22 Apr

From Leicestershire Mercury

With the new County Championship season under way, one Leicestershire player in particular is looking forward to playing on home soil once again.

Although last season was a largely disappointing one for County, Rob Taylor made a name for himself at Grace Road with his performances in both one-day formats last summer.

The 24-year-old has had a busy winter, too. The all-rounder was part of the Scotland side that travelled to New Zealand for the ICC World Cup qualifier tournament.

The Saltires beat Kenya in the semi-finals to qualify for next year's 50-over competition and then went on to beat the UAE by 14 runs to claim the title.

Taylor was instrumental in Scotland's success, scoring 46 not out to clinch victory in the semi-final, before taking a vital 3-48 in the final.

"To get those runs meant a lot to me and to the squad," he said. "The support we had back home the whole way through the tournament was amazing, and to get the guys over the line was brilliant."

The former Harrow School pupil has now played eight ODIs and four T20Is and, although the Scots failed to qualify for the recent World Twenty20 tournament, games against the likes of Australia, New Zealand and England lie ahead in the 2015 World Cup group stages.

"The World Cup will be a great experience," said Taylor. "For me, to play against the best players in the world, to bowl at the likes of Aaron Finch, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke, will be amazing. I'm really looking forward to it.

Leicestershire senior coach Ben Smith believes Taylor's experiences with Scotland will serve his development well.

Rob Taylor with his man of the match award"He's done very well for Leicestershire and Scotland in one-day cricket, so the best way for Rob to approach his all-round game is to transfer those skills across into the longer version of the game," said Smith.

"With the ball, he now swings it into the right-hander more consistently.

"He can bowl in powerplays, he can bowl up front and he can bowl at the death. With the bat, he can be very destructive.

"If he uses the opportunities he has with Scotland to gain some valuable experience, I'm sure he will improve and mould himself into a successful four-day player."

Although Taylor is a one-day regular for the Foxes, he is yet to nail down a regular spot in the Championship side.

The former Loughborough University student is hoping this season will be his breakthrough year.

"I've played the majority of the one-day games here for the last year or so, and I haven't played a lot of four-day cricket," he said.

"My main goal is to get in the four-day side, get a couple of scores under my belt early, take some wickets early and try to cement my place for the season."

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