Taylor departs on poignant note

Published March 15, 2015
ZIMBABWE batsman Brendan Taylor reverse sweeps during his century against India.—AP
ZIMBABWE batsman Brendan Taylor reverse sweeps during his century against India.—AP

AUCKLAND: Stand-in Zim­babwe captain Brendan Taylor called time on his international career on Saturday as his team bowed out of the World Cup, finishing with an innings of 138 which provided an emphatic punctuation point on his 11-year-tenure.

Taylor came into the Zimbabwe team as an 18-year-old and leaves now at 29 to take up a three-year contract with Nottinghamshire in the English county championship.

Though he will still be young enough to play international cricket when that contract ends, Taylor doubts that he will play for Zimbabwe again, adding to his 23 Tests and 167 One-day Internationals.

That made his team’s six-wicket loss to India at Eden Park on Saturday especially poignant and his last innings a source of mixed sadness and satisfaction. While his 138 — his second successive century at this World Cup — was a joyful way to end his own career, his team’s defeat and the realisation of his imminent parting from team-mates who are also friends added a melancholic note to the final act of his career.

Taylor has been a Zimbabwe player through some of the most turbulent times in their cricket history: through an era when some players rebelled and refused national selection to another when, for political reasons, Zimbabwe was the pariah of world cricket.

There were also highs. He led Zimbabwe to a five-wicket win over Australia at the world Twenty20 and he finishes with eight centuries in One-day Internationals, four in Tests.

Asked what he would miss most in international cricket, Taylor said: “It will have to be wearing this red [Zimbabwe] shirt of mine. I guess it’s every cricketer’s dream to put on their country’s shirt so that’s why we play the sport.

“We’re lucky enough and privileged enough to do that. I’ll certainly miss that, I’ll miss my team-mates, the camaraderie we have amongst each other.

“The good times and bad times we go through is all part of it. I’ve had it for 11 years and I wouldn’t change that for anything. It’s been some special times, through good and bad.”

Dhoni welcomes pressure

AUCKLAND: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni welcomed the pressure placed on his team by Zimbabwe in their final group match at Eden Park on Saturday.

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor’s 138 in his final game for his country helped set India a challenging 289 to win, a task made harder when the world champions lost four wickets before reaching the hundred mark.

Dhoni (85) and Suresh Raina (110) then added 196 in an unbroken partnership which ensured India and co-hosts New Zealand are the only unbeaten teams going into the knockout stages.

“I think it couldn’t have been better,” Dhoni told a news conference. “If it had been the last game of the league stage and you get an easy win you don’t get a lot out of that. What was good was that the spinners were put under pressure and we lost quick wickets initially and that put our middle order under pressure so we gained a lot out of it.”

Published in Dawn March 15th , 2015

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