Brendan Taylor out of International Cricket for Three Years

Zimbabwe wicketkeeper-batsman Brendan Taylor has signed a Kolpak deal with English county team Nottinghamshire, which will see him being out of action from international cricket for a three-year period. The move is still subject to approval from England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Should the move go through, he could well be playing his final game when he takes the field in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Pool B match against defending champions India.

Taylor has been drafted in as cover for the Notts England international Michael Lumb, who is expected to take some time to be back in action following his arm tendon surgery. It is likely that Lumb will miss at least the first month of the county season this year.

Speaking about the development, Taylor told reporters at Eden Park: “It’s been one of the toughest decisions of my career. I have been very passionate about playing for Zimbabwe, but it’s a decision I had to make. I can’t give you that answer (whether I would like to settle down there) because it’s the first time I am going there. I just want to go there and play some good competitive cricket and provide for my family. That’s the main thing behind it I will see how it goes the first year and then take a call.”

Taylor has scored 1,493 runs, including four centuries, at an average of 34.72, in 23 Tests. His ODI record currently reads as 5120 runs at an average of 34.13 from 166 matches, making him Zimbabwe’s sixth most capped player. He is the fourth-highest ODI run-getter for his country. In the World Cup, Taylor has scored 40, 47, 37, 50 and 121. Zimbabwe has not qualified for the quarter-finals, winning just one of five games so far.

With Zimbabwean cricketers still caught in financial instability, Taylor—the highest paid of his team-mates—decided to sign a Kolpak deal to secure his future. The current World Cup squad has still not received all their dues for past series, and their monthly salaries are estimated to be US$6,000. Taylor is reportedly paid US$10,000.

In 2013, Zimbabwe fast bowler Kyle Jarvis retired from international cricket to pursue a career in county cricket and Twenty20. Before him, Anthony Ireland bowed out at 22 on a two-year deal with Gloucestershire, citing the political stranglehold of Zimbabwe’s cricket administration as the reason for shunning his country.Under Taylor, Zimbabwe seemed a renewed force, despite a sparse fixture list and struggles away from home. As one of the senior-most players in the squad, Taylor played an important part in unifying the players in their off-field battles over unpaid salaries and the formation of a players’ association. He also expressed hope that the leadership of Dav Whatmore, who was appointed Zimbabwe coach a few months ahead of the World Cup, would lift the team’s performances in the future.

“Zimbabwe is going to move forward with Dav Whatmore, there’s no doubt about that. He’s been brilliant so far,” Taylor said. “We haven’t got the results we’d have liked to but he’s a very experienced coach and he knows how to get the best out of individuals. So I’ve no doubt that someone will come in and do a good job there. We’ve got a bit of depth there and some experienced players. The guys need to just step it up a little bit more, take more responsibility, but there’s no doubt that the talent’s there and some great times are around the corner for Zimbabwe cricket I feel.”

Whatmore said Nottinghamshire were “very, very lucky” to have Taylor in their ranks and was convinced Zimbabwe could stay strong after Taylor’s exit.

“It is true we will be missing Brendan Taylor who is be going to Nottingham and they are very lucky to have him. But, despite that, we feel that we have got a number of players who make this team really strong because of what they offer in terms of their all-round ability,” Whatmore said.