Taylor confirms return to Zim cricket

HARARE - It's official. Former Zimbabwe Cricket captain Brendan Taylor is set to don the national team jersey one more time after ending his Kolpak contract with England’s County Cricket side Nottinghamshire last week.

The right-handed batsman called it quits in March 2015 to pursue a Kolpak deal with Notts which automatically ruled him out of international cricket during the course of the three-year contract which was due to expire at the end of the year.

Taylor was the team’s leading run scorer with 433 runs at an average of 72.16 scoring two centuries against Ireland and India in Zimbabwe’s last two matches of the 2015 World Cup jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The wicketkeeper batsman cited Zimbabwe’s disastrous series against Bangladesh in Asia in November 2016 as the final straw that broke the camel’s back in addition to challenges with the payment and non-payment of salaries and allowances having played at the back of his mind for a long time.

Zimbabwe lost all the matches against Bangladesh under the then head coach Steve Mangongo; a three-match Test series and the 5-match One Day International series on a whitewash.

“To be honest with you, my decision was made before the World Cup in Bangladesh (November 2016). For once, I struggled to enjoy my cricket. I felt we weren’t heading in the right direction as a team and my main outcome of that was to make a decision that would benefit my kids, benefit our family as a whole,” Taylor told reporters as he announced his shocking resignation in 2015.

“Firstly, I would like to say thank you (to the fans). We have seen how they have grown in numbers and turned up day in day out to support us. I also want to apologise to them. I don’t wanna leave them; I don’t wanna leave my teammates behind. It’s been the most difficult decision of my life to make and that’s a decision that really got to me and while I feel it’s a positive decision I’m not a person that sorts of wants to leave the team alone and just to leave the fans behind that’s not what I am but at the end of the day like I said it’s about my family and just aking sure that they are secured.”

But yesterday, an ecstatic BT as he is known in cricket circles, took to social media telling his legion of followers that he is looking forward to uniting with teammates in Zimbabwe Cricket.

“On my way home to see my wife (and) my boys. Look forward to catching up with family and friends and start an exciting new chapter with Zimbabwe Cricket again. Going to miss some great people in Nottingham,” Taylor wrote on his Facebook wall.

The coming on board of first black captain Tatenda Taibu, the presence of Heath Streak as the national team coach and the appointment of former ICC chief finance officer Faisal Hasnain have all worked to convince Taylor for another dance with Zimbabwe.

“Anyone who knows cricket knows Brendan Taylor is a quality player. We don’t need to see much. We have been following his performances and we know how he has been doing on the county circuit. We’re looking forward to having him back,” Taibu told ESPNcricinfo.

Hasnain, ZC’s new managing director, also confirmed to Cricinfo adding that the financial side of things was in able hands.

“That side of our organisation is running well. We are prioritising what we need to pay. I’m sure Brendan would have spoken not just to us but with other players in the system as well,” Hasnain said.

Taylor who had also left the door open for a possible return to Zimbabwe cricket in March this year heightened speculation that he would return when he got involved in a social media spat with ex-Zimbabwe skipper Stuart Carlisle who criticised the current national team following a humiliating 2-3 ODI series defeat against minnows Afghanistan at home.

The locals surrendered the series after they were dismissed for a paltry 54 runs all out in the decisive ODI at Harare Sports Club.

“Yet another new low for Zim cricket,” Carlisle posted on Facebook.

Taylor, however, was perturbed by the comment and took Carlisle to task posting the former skipper’s stats on the social media to remind him of how he performed as a cricketer during his hey days with the national team.

“These stats should back up his (Carlisle) statement. Ex-players and commentators always sit back and chip away because it’s easy watching from the comfort of their homes or from a commentary box but forget how tough it can be in the middle,” Taylor posted.

And he got the backing of Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer’s wife, Merna.

“Unfortunately, the public humiliation rooted from Carlisle’s post, which was not directed to one, but to many. There comes a time where players and supporters have to stand up for themselves and their team. Brendan (Taylor) has every right to speak his mind and back his post. He is passionate about his sport and his fellow team-mates. Refreshing to see,” Cremer’s wife said.

“Yes, the loss was disappointing, but no one feels that more than the players. So why kick a man when he’s down as Carlisle did? Carlisle has posted one too many negative posts about ZC and the players, this is not the first. He is connected with one or two of these players on FB, so understandably, it is seen as extremely disrespectful when he publicises such negative posts (as an ex-Zim cricketer), in such a way that ridicules or insults.

“Instead, why not private message and maybe encourage or sympathise directly with one or two players he knows personally, the gentlemen way, the ethical way (again seeing he is an ex-Zim cricketer) or why not post something when they do win, and not always when they lose?”

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