It was after the 2015 world cup that Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor shocked everyone by choosing county cricket over his motherland. In a country where the economical situation was worsening by the clock, Taylor was aiming to lead a more financially stable life. Two and a half years on from his decision, he is back and now looks more determined than ever to lead his side.
Zimbabwe cricket was on the verge of their worst ever streak when players were in strike frequently and the board didn’t pay the players on time. Taylor wanted to be regular in cricket, and have a settled and secured future for himself, his wife & two sons. Therefore he took the hard decision of choosing something over his own nation.
Apart from the county cricket, he’s also settled in Engalnd despite being away from his wife and two young sons. He thanked Nottinghamshire for the outstanding facilities he’s had with his trips back home and also to ease into England. His contentment showed when he scored an impressive 959 runs in his first season. But he didn’t forget his roots. He admitted he followed his teammates throughout the time.
Taylor watched on as Zimbabwe lost to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh & New Zealand. But the suffered the ultimate embarrassment at the hands of Afghanistan, losing two ODIs.
With Dav Whatmore being sacked ahead of a home test series against New Zealand, all-rounder Graeme Cremer was named Captain. With hopes of new changes, Taylor kept contact with Cremer and came to know about several players being close to returning. Teammate Kyle Jarvis was one of them, but the most important decision for Taylor was the return of former wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu, who left cricket for religious decisions. Taibu has taken up a multi- faceted role which includes a development officer and a convener for the selectors.
Changes started to come in this April when former ICC CFO Faisal Hasnain took over Zimbabwe Cricket as the MD. A new financial officer came in and the payment issues started to be cleared out. Taibu came into agreements with Taylor, Jarvis and Solomon Mire, whos’ settled in Australia now.
The former players were encouraged by inspirational displays against Sri Lanka where they chased a total in excess of 300 and in the islands and became the first team to do so.
Taylor was excited with the return. He said, “I think this can be the best period of Zimbabwe cricket since I have been playing in 2004. The group of players is exceptional. Everyone’s game has been lifted 20%. We are a totally different side to the one that lost to Afghanistan earlier in the year.”
Taylor has signed a four-year deal with Zimbabwe just hours after being released off his Notts County deal. A long time friend, Taibu believed the stylish righty would simply walk into the current XI. He knows his main challenge will be to stay fit and healthy as he enters an age range where many professional athletes start to wane. “I just need to look after my body,” he said. Taylor was also excited about Cremer’s captaincy, wishing him nothing but good luck and hoped he gets a long term captaincy for the side’s betterment. Taylor finally said, “I felt in the past, we didn’t get the best out of our players and they didn’t have that belief, but now that has changed,” Taylor said. “Players feel backed and I think that will show in the results.”
Is Zimbabwe cricket finally on the cusp on rising again? Taylor certainly hopes so.s