sport

Taylor to sit out NZ tour

Ross Taylor is to sit out New Zealand's tour of South Africa, with Brendon McCullum assuming the captaincy in all three forms of the game.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White confirmed at a fiery press conference on Friday morning that Taylor will not be on the plane for South Africa and has been replaced by McCullum.

White said Taylor had "declined the opportunity" to continue as Test captain and hand over the ODI and Twenty20 reins to McCullum in a split captaincy model devised by coach Mike Hesson.

"Mike's assessment was that he wanted to share the captaincy workload," White was quoted as saying on stuff.co.nz.

"He thought the best environment for Ross to develop his captaincy was in the tests."

However, reports have suggested Taylor was asked to relinquish the Test captaincy as well on the recent tour of Sri Lanka.

The 29-year-old refused, according to reports, and led by example as New Zealand levelled the series with a 167-run win in the second Test in Colombo, where Taylor scored 142 and 74.

In the wake of the tour the split-captaincy solution was suggested to Taylor, who declined.

The 43-Test veteran is now in an international hiatus, while the Black Caps must face the top side in the world without their best batsman.

"He thought long and hard about it but felt he needed a break," said White.

"It's not ideal and we would be a stronger team with Ross in it. But we respect his wishes."

White expects Taylor to be available again when England arrive in the country in February.

As well as Taylor, New Zealand will be without the injured Daniel Vettori when they face a South Africa side who have just secured a 1-0 series win in Australia.

Wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk and rookie leg-spinner Todd Astle have also been dropped, with BJ Watling taking the gloves, Derek de Boorder coming in as his back-up and left-arm spinner Bruce Martin receiving a surprise first-time call-up at the age of 32.

Mitchell McClenaghan, Colin Munro, Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham have all been selected in the Twenty20 squad, while veteran Kyle Mills has been cut out of the limited-overs side.