25 Facts about Brendan Taylor - The Finest Zimbabwe Player of Modern Era

Brendan Taylor
Brendan Taylor. (© Getty Images)

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The Zimbabwean team saw a slump ever since the exit of the Flower brothers and Heath Streak. One man held the ship of Zimbabwean cricket since then, and that was Brendan Taylor. Brendan Taylor, who recently bid adieu to the international cricket, is perhaps one of the greatest players to have ever played for Zimbabwe. While his heroics often went in vain and was often quoted as the ball in the wrong court, Taylor never ceased to amaze the cricket world with his performances. Here are some facts about Brendan Taylor – The finest Zimbabwean player of modern era:

1. Early life – Early start to the game:

Brendan Taylor was born on 6 February 1986 at Harare in Zimbabwe. Taylor had the passion for playing cricket since his childhood. He made it to the First Class cricket at the bare age of 15 years.

2. In experienced hands:

Taylor attended the Lilfordia School at Harare where he was coached by Iain Campbell, father of another Zimbabwean legend Alistair Campbell. Such good was his skill with the bat, that he was always the first pick for any age group matches.

3. Playing style:

Brendan Taylor is primarily an opening batsman who can bat well in the middle order too to stabilize the batting. He is a wicket-keeper who started his career as a replacement keeper for Tatenda Taibu in the National side. He can bowl part time off break bowling as well. A nonchalant driver of the ball, Brendan Taylor is equally good with his uppercuts over the third man.

4. First-class debut and ICC U19 World Cup:

Brendan Taylor made his First Class debut for Mashonaland A at the age of 15 in 2001-02. The following year, he shot to fame in the local Zimbabwean circuit by notching up a double ton in the Logan Cup. An early start to the game meant that Taylor had the privilege to feature in two ICC U19 World Cups. His List A debut against Manicaland saw him scoring just 13.

5. Sudden international call up:

Due a tiff between the International players of Zimbabwe and the then Zimbabwe Cricket Union, many senior players refused to play for the national side. This paved the way for many youngsters to get in the team. Brendan Taylor was one of them. He made his ODI debut at the age of 18 against Sri Lanka in 2004 at Bulawayo. He was dismissed for a duck by Chaminda Vaas.

6. Test Debut: Filling the big boots:

In the same tour, Taylor made his Test debut scoring 19 and 4 in two innings in a match that Zimbabwe lost by an innings and 240 runs. Soon the temporary exit of Tatenda Taibu saw Brendan Taylor being picked as the specialist keeper in the side in 2006.

7. Last ball 6:

During the 3rd ODI of Bangladesh’s tour of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe was set a target of 237. Needing 6 to win off the last ball, Brendan Taylor was on strike. He successfully hit a six off Mashrafe Mortaza’s bowling to ensure the Zimbabwean victory. He was named the Man of the Match for his unbeaten 79 off 72 balls.

8. Club cricket in Netherlands:

The Zimbabwe Cricket Board had set strict rules that any player playing club cricket outside the nation will be overlooked for national selection. Despite this warning, Taylor played club cricket in Netherland in 2007.

9. The Hero of the big upset:

During the group stage match against Australia in the inaugural ICC World T20 in 2007, Taylor was scintillating with the gloves and the bat that saw Zimbabwe upset the mighty Aussies. Zimbabwe was set a target of 139 and Taylor batted through the innings to take Zimbabwe home. Needing 12 off the last over, Taylor was cheeky and effective to guide his side to a famous World Cup win. He was awarded the Man of the Match for his 45 balls 60*.

10. Carrying his bat through:

In the series against South Africa in 2010, Brendan Taylor scored a magnificent 145* off 136 balls in a losing cause, Chasing a mammoth 352, his efforts were not enough as his side was restricted to 287/6. However, Taylor carried his bat through the innings, becoming only the 9th player to do so in the history of the game then.

11. Century on captaincy debut:

Brendan Taylor was appointed as the captain of Zimbabwe for the Tests against Bangladesh. The series marked Zimbabwe’s return to Test Cricket. He scored 71 in the first innings and followed it up with 105* in the second, becoming the 2nd Zimbabwean to score a century on Captaincy debut. Zimbabwe won the match by 130 runs.

12. Captain fantastic:

The additional responsibility of captaincy worked wonders for his batting, as he scored four centuries in his first seven Tests in charge, after scoring none in his ten previous Tests.

13. New Zealand tour of Zimbabwe:

Taylor scored 310 runs against New Zealand in ODI series in October 2011. In the 1st ODI, he scored 128* rescuing Zimbabwe from a precarious position to a respectable 231. In the next match, he scored another century an unbeaten 107, becoming the first Zimbabwean to score back to back centuries. Zimbabwe lost both the matches. In the final ODI, chasing a sizable 329 to win, Taylor set the tone of the chase with a brisk 75 off 65 balls, which enabled Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura to give Zimbabwe a famous win.

14. Following the good form in Tests:

After being adjudged the Man of the Series, Taylor continued his good form in Tests against New Zealand. He scored 50 and 117 in the one-off test match. Taylor became only the second Zimbabwean batsman after Kevin Arnott to score a century in the fourth innings of a Test match. The match went down the wire and Zimbabwe lost a close game.

15. The Highest Test score:

Brendan Taylor hit a masterly 171 against Bangladesh at Harare in 2013. His efforts in the series helped Zimbabwe draw the series level 1-1. His knock of 171 remains to be his highest Test knock so far.

16. Century in each inning:

Taylor scored centuries in each inning against Bangladesh in Harare in 2013, thus becoming the first from Zimbabwe, and the 12th in all, to achieve this feat. He scored 171 and 102* in the match.

17. Phenomenal World Cup 2015:

During the 2015 ICC World Cup, Brendan Taylor hit a blitzkrieg 121 off 91 balls against Ireland at Hobart. Chasing 331, Zimbabwe fell short by just 5 runs. In the very next game for Zimbabwe, Taylor hit another century against India, scoring 138 off 110 balls. This was the second occasion when Taylor hit back to back tons in ODI cricket. However, this ton went in vain as well.

18. Highest aggregate:

Taylor scored 433 runs at the ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia and set a new record for Zimbabwe in any World Cup by scoring most runs in a World Cup by a Zimbabwean player.

19. Signing up as Kolpak Player:

After the 2015 World Cup, Taylor announced his retirement from all forms of the game due to financial concerns. He decided to sign up as a Kolpak player in the English County.  He has signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Nottinghamshire. This deal makes him ineligible to play international cricket for Zimbabwe.

20. Leading century maker:

Brendan Taylor has 8 ODI centuries to his name, the most by any Zimbabwean player. He surpassed Alistair Campbell’s tally of 7 tons.

21. Globetrotter – The league player:

Taylor played in Dutch Domestic league in 2007. In the year 2008, he joined the Lashings World XI in England. He also represented Wellington as an international player in New Zealand domestic cricket in 2011. During the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League in 2013, Taylor was roped in by Chittagong Kings for $30,000. He was also chosen to lead the Uthura Rudras in the Sri Lankan Premier League. Sunrisers Hyderabad purchased him at IPL 2014 auction for Rs. 30,00,000.

22. Major teams:

The teams that Taylor has represented so far are- Zimbabwe, Chittagong Kings, Mashonaland A, Mid West Rhinos, Nottinghamshire, Prime Bank Cricket Club, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Leo Lions, Wellington, Zimbabwe A, Zimbabwe Under-19s, Zimbabwe XI.

23. The hero of the Kings:

During the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League, Chittagong Kings were on a losing spree, losing 5 straight games. Mahmudullah resigned as the skipper of Kings and Taylor took in-charge. Taylor led King’s on a 4-game win streak. While on the winning streak, Taylor was the team’s leading scorer and 3rd in the league with 316 total runs. Kings ended up reaching the BPL Final, but due to illness, Taylor had to miss out on the final. The Kings lost the finals to the Dhaka Gladiators.

24. Masters Champions League:

During the Inaugural Masters Champions League, Brendan Taylor was picked up by the Leo Lions for $70,000.

25. More international cricket to come?

While his fans might wonder that he will never come back to International cricket, Taylor has himself revealed that he is not ruling out the possibility of playing for Zimbabwe again. So there is every chance that his fans might get to see him featuring in the next World Cup!