NZ team in disarray after Taylor quits as Test captain

New Zealand head to South Africa to take on the world's top-ranked Test nation in tumult, with Ross Taylor sitting out of the two-match series after giving up the captaincy and Daniel Vettori ruled out with injury. Taylor rejected an offer to keep the reins of the Test team but step down as skipper of the Twenty20 and one-day sides, leaving opener Brendon McCullum to take on all three roles.

The announcement on Friday by New Zealand Cricket boss David White capped days of speculation about Taylor's future, with local media reporting a rift between head coach Mike Hesson and the 28-year-old batsman.

White confirmed Hesson was behind the move to depose Taylor from skippering the team in the shorter formats, part of a review following the tour of Sri Lanka where they drew a two-Test series 1-1.

He added, however, that the coach's recommendation had the board's blessing. We regret that Ross Taylor has declined the opportunity, therefore McCullum has been appointed as Blackcaps captain for all three forms of the game," White said.

"He thought about it long and hard and he said that he would like a break to spend time with his family and we've agreed to that and we respect it."

Taylor's decision to sit out the series robs New Zealand of their top Test batsman and underlines the extent of the friction between the former captain and team management.

Taylor had scored 142 and 74 in a man-of-the-match performance to guide the Black Caps to a rare away win in the second test over Sri Lanka in Colombo, but local media were rife with reports of his removal throughout the week.

"It's not ideal and we would be a stronger team with Ross Taylor in it," said White, who expressed regret the saga had played out in local newspapers.

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