In his new book, Ross Taylor Black & White, Ross Taylor has revealed that he attempted to convince a teenaged Ben Stokes to play for New Zealand.
Taylor, who retired from international cricket earlier this year after representing New Zealand over 400 times across all formats, tried to tempt the current England Test captain into representing the Black Caps in 2010 when he was playing county cricket with him for Durham.
Stokes, who was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, moved to the UK when he was 12. His father, Ged Stokes, was a Kiwi rugby league player.
“He was 18 or 19 and very much a Kiwi,” Taylor wrote of his conversation with the young all-rounder, according to Stuff. “Over a Guinness, I asked him if he wanted to come and play in New Zealand. He was keen so I sent a message to New Zealand Cricket CEO Justin Vaughan saying this guy Stokes was a really good young cricketer and interested in playing for New Zealand.
“Vaughan replied along the lines that he could start playing domestic cricket and we would see where it went.”
Stokes had made his professional debut for Durham a year earlier in 2009, with 2010 the first year that he played regularly in the County Championship. He also represented England in the 2010 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
Despite being so young, a teenage Stokes was already embarking on a rapid rise; he would debut for England in T20 cricket just a year later. in 2011.
“I went back saying we would have to offer him more than that because he wouldn’t be interested if it meant starting on the bottom rung of the ladder,” Taylor adds. “Obviously it didn’t come to anything.”
“Ben was sincere about playing for New Zealand but NZC would’ve had to have acted swiftly and decisively and given him some pretty solid assurances, which Vaughan clearly wasn’t prepared to do.”
Stokes has gone on to become a legend of English cricket, including playing a heroic innings in the 2019 World Cup final against the nation of his birth, a game in which Taylor featured.
Earlier this year he assumed the Test captaincy before retiring from ODI cricket in order to focus on red-ball and T20 cricket.