Ross Taylor, who announced his retirement from cricket this year, has revealed that he was “slapped” by one of the Rajasthan Royals owners during his tenure with the franchise in the Indian Premier League.
The right-hander was signed up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the first three seasons of the league – from 2008 to 2010 – before he was bought by Rajasthan Royals during the mega-auction in 2011 for USD 1 million. However, the former New Zealand captain states that he would have preferred staying on with Royal Challengers Bangalore instead for a lesser amount while looking back at his unpleasant time with Rajasthan Royals.
In his autobiography Ross Taylor: Black & White, an excerpt of which was published on Stuff.co.nz, Taylor wrote: “While it was amazing to go for a million dollars, in the long run, I would’ve been better off if RCB had got me for US$950,000. If they had, it would have been my fourth year with them. While the IPL is pretty unsentimental, there is loyalty towards long-serving players and I probably would have had a longer IPL career as a one-franchise player.
“When you fetch that sort of money, you’re desperately keen to prove that you’re worth it. And those who are paying you that sort of money have high expectations – that’s professional sport and human nature. I’d paid my dues at RCB: if I’d had a lean trot, the management would have had faith in me because of what I’d done in the past. When you go to a new team, you don’t get that backing. You never feel comfortable because you know that if you go two or three games without a score, you come under cold-eyed scrutiny.”
Taylor goes on to recount an incident where a failure for Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) earned him the wrath of one of the owners. Chasing 196 for a win, Rajasthan Royals stumbled to 47-3 when Taylor walked in at No.5. However, he was unable to get going, and was lbw off Piyush Chawla for a five-ball duck. His team went on to lose the game by 48 runs.
“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 [Shane Warne]. 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. 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.”
Taylor played 12 games for the inaugural champions in 2011, scoring 181 runs at an average of 36.20. He was not signed up by the franchise in 2012 and moved to play for Delhi Daredevils. In 2013, he played for Pune Warriors India before returning to Delhi Daredevils the following year, which was also the last season when he played in the league.
Rajasthan Royals are yet to issue a statement on the incident.
It is not the first time that a player has opened up about his experiences in the tournament. Earlier this year, Yuzvendra Chahal claimed that he was “hung from the balcony” by a Mumbai Indians teammate following a game in 2013.