Ross Taylor: A Rajasthan Royals owner 'slapped' me

Former New Zealand batter reveals details of alleged incident in his new autobiography

Former New Zealand batter Ross Taylor claims he was “slapped” by one of the owners of the Rajasthan Royals franchise during the 2011 season of the IPL.

Taylor made the revelation in his new autobiography, Ross Taylor: Black & White, and says the incident took place following a defeat against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali.

“The chase was 195, I was lbw for a duck and we didn’t get close,” Taylor wrote in his book, an excerpt of which was published on Stuff.co.nz. “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.”

Royals have not issued a statement in response yet.

Having spent three years at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) from 2008 to 2010, Taylor played one season for Royals – in 2011 – after he was bought for USD 1 million at the auction. In his book, Taylor said he wished he had stayed at RCB.

“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,” Taylor wrote. “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. On the other hand, if I’d stayed at RCB, I wouldn’t have played with greats such as Virender Sehwag, Shane Warne, Mahela Jayawardene and Yuvraj Singh.

“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 played 12 games for Royals in 2011, scoring 181 runs at a strike rate of 119, after which he played three more seasons for Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors India.

In his book, Taylor had also revealed that he had experienced racial insensitivity while playing cricket in and for New Zealand.

Who are Royals’ owners?
The Royals franchise – which won the inaugural IPL – was bought in 2008 by Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd, a consortium of business entities. The major investors in this consortium comprised: Tresco International Ltd (Suresh Chellaram family, 44.2% stake), Emerging Media (IPL) Ltd (owned by Manoj Badale, 32.4%), Blue Water Estate Ltd (Lachlan Murdoch, 11.7%). A year later, in 2009, the Royals became the first franchise to broaden its ownership by selling an 11.7% stake to Kuki Investments Ltd, led by Raj Kundra, husband of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty. The deal, at the time, was reportedly for US$15.4 million approx.

In 2015, Kundra was banned for life from cricketing activities by the Supreme Court-appointed RM Lodha Committee, after investigations into the the 2013 IPL corruption scandal revealed he was involved in illegal betting. The Lodha Committee also suspended Royals for two years.

In 2021, Badale became the lead owner of the Royals franchise by upping his stake to 65% after an injection of funds from global investors. Also, last June, RedBird Capital Partners, a global private investment firm that has interests in the parent company of Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox, bought a 15% stake in Royals.