WELLINGTON (AFP) - Batsman Ross Taylor was appointed New Zealand cricket captain Tuesday, replacing spin bowler Daniel Vettori, who stepped down in March after the World Cup. Taylor served as vice-captain under Vettori and his appointment was widely expected, with wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum seen as his main rival for the skipper's position. The 27-year-old said he was humbled by the appointment and believed New Zealand had the talent to be a force in world cricket. "I've learnt a great deal about leadership having played under Dan Vettori and feel ready to take on what is one of the highest honours in New Zealand sport," he said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge and appreciate the level of responsibility that comes with captaining your country." Taylor has played 30 Tests, with an average of 41.12, and 107 one-day internationals, averaging 36.8. New Zealand Cricket said Black Caps coach John Wright, director of cricket John Buchanan and acting selection manager Mark Greatbatch had all backed Taylor's appointment.