While Zimbabwe are not playing many, if any, Test, ODI and T20I matches at the moment, Brendan Taylor continues to showcase the country’s cricketing talent around the world.
Taylor is currently with the Kandy Tuskers in the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. He’s playing alongside former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan, South African pace ace Dale Steyn and other international stars.
The right-handed Taylor was especially impressive at the start of the tournament, striking a match-winning half-century against the Galle Gladiators. The opposition bowling attack featured Pakistan pair Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Amir.
He followed that up with a fine 46 against a Jaffna Stallions seam attack spearheaded by Pakistani Usman Shinwari. The Zimbabwean’s effort this time, however, was unable to ensure victory for the Tuskers.
The Lanka Premier League is an increasingly popular prospect on a busy domestic T20 calendar. Popular betting sites continue to price up various events and markets for the tournament, including the outright winner. 888sport, bet365 and other firms, for example, have Taylor’s Tuskers priced at 4/1 for the maiden tournament title.
Taylor is no stranger to facing Pakistan bowlers – at domestic and international level. He played limited-overs cricket for Zimbabwe, against the Pakistanis, as recently as November 2020. His showings were solid during the ODI series, but modest across the T20I leg of the tour.
“I feel very lucky to get this Man of the Match award as I feel Shaheen should have got it. You’re up against a very skilled attack at the death and they were too good at the end. It was that skill level at the death that took it away from us,” said Taylor at the time, after collecting a century in defeat to a Pakistan unit triumphant on the back of left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi’s five-wicket haul.
Taylor missed a couple of years of international cricket after signing with Nottinghamshire in English county competition. That international hiatus ended in 2017, when he returned for the men in red. He has remained a key force for the Zimbabweans ever since. He can play as a wicketkeeper, too, not just a specialist batsman. He’s captained the side as well – and could do so again if required.
Away from the international circuit and besides his stint with the Tuskers in the LPL, Taylor has a fine domestic T20 cricket pedigree. He has represented the Chittagong Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League – and Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League. Locally, he has been a star in the Logan Cup as well.
He is also one of a few Zimbabwean cricketers to have been afforded a contract in the Indian Premier League. Taylor was with the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Countrymen such as Ray Price, Tatenda Taibu and a few others also played in the IPL.
Taylor is coached by Indian Lalchand Rajput, who is the head coach of Zimbabwe. When again the pair will be able to impart their knowledge and experience to the rest of the international squad remains in the balance. Zimbabwe don’t have any immediate international assignments, nor have the International Cricket Council forecast more for them.
“I feel we are a team that needs to be playing more often. We’ve always been starved of cricket. We’d have obviously wanted to be playing, I’m sure everyone would have wanted that because in the past we gained momentum when we were playing regularly and unfortunately, we’ve always been hampered by the fact that we play a series and then we don’t play for three or four months,” said Taylor.
Zimbabwe’s hiatus, though, remains a busy time for Taylor in the LPL and elsewhere. The United States will soon have its own Major League Cricket, which is something else Taylor could get involved in.