WELLINGTON, Dec 7: Ousted New Zealand cricket captain Ross Taylor said on Friday he was distressed at being axed in favour of Brendon McCullum and needed a break from the game after a ‘very challenging’ time.

After a week of intense speculation about Taylor’s future, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed the 28-year-old batsman had been dumped as skipper and would sit out the upcoming tour of South Africa.

“It was felt that the workload for a young captain was a lot,” NZC chief executive David White told reporters, adding that Taylor rejected an offer to remain Test captain while handing limited-overs duties to McCullum.

Despite presiding over a string of poor results, Taylor remains New Zealand’s best batsman, averaging 43.45, and his absence from the Test squad for South Africa further weakens a side missing injured spinner Daniel Vettori.

Taylor said coach Mike Hesson told him he was no longer wanted as captain before last month’s two-Test series in Sri Lanka, where the Black Caps fought back for a creditable 1-1 draw after losing heavily in the first Test.

Brendon McCullum will now captain New Zealand in all forms of the game, beginning with their two Tests, three One-day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals in South Africa.

Veteran batsman Peter Fulton has been recalled to the squad after a three-year absence and will vie with Australian-born Dean Brownlie to replace Taylor in the batting line-up.

The Test squad named on Friday includes off-spinner Bruce Martin who will make his international debut aged 32 and after a 13-year first class career.

Martin replaces injured left-armer Daniel Vettori and leg-spinner Todd Astle, who played in New Zealand’s most recent Test series in Sri Lanka.

The New Zealand Twenty20 squad includes a number of newcomers to international cricket: Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Colin Munro, Derek de Boorder and Mitchell McClenaghan.

Hesson said all five had shown ‘considerable promise’ in domestic matches and deserved a chance at international level.

“We believe the squad has a good blend of experience and young talented players who we are sure are ready for the challenges ahead,” he said.

Squads: Test: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Flynn, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Bruce Martin, Jeetan Patel, Kane Williamson, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, B.J. Watling.

Twenty20: Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Derek de Boorder, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Martin Guptill, Ronnie Hira, Nathan McCullum, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Rob Nicol.—Agencies


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