Brendan Taylor: Thank you for the memories. The 35-year-old, who represented his country in the past 17 years, has called time on his international career. Taylor is the third most capped Zimbabwean player. He holds the record, of the most One Day International centuries by a Zimbabwean player, after scoring 11 tons, during his career.
Brendan Taylor has been described as a legend of Zimbabwe cricket who will be remembered as one of the finest players to emerge out of this country. He left the stage with the second most ODI runs by a Zimbabwean, after the legendary Andy Flower. Taylor has amassed 6 684 runs, and finished just 102 shy of the ICC Hall of Famer. Grant Flower is third with 6 571 runs.
Taylor was given a guard of honour by his teammates, before he walked out to bat, in his last international match, in Ireland, yesterday. He was bowled out for seven runs, by Ireland’s left arm seamer Josh Little, as Zimbabwe struggled with the bat, under the wet conditions, in Belfast.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I’m announcing that tomorrow (yesterday is my last game for my beloved country, 17 years of extreme highs and extreme lows ,and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Taylor in a lengthy statement.
“It’s taught me to be humble, to always remind myself how lucky I was to be in the position I was in for so long. ‘‘To wear the badge with pride and leave everything on the field. “My goal was to always leave the team in a better position than when I first arrived back in 2004, I hope I have done that.”
Taylor leaves the stage as one of the finest players to don the Chevrons jersey. He made his debut in 2004 in an ODI against Sri Lanka and went on to play 205 games. The wicketkeeper-batsman thanked Zimbabwe Cricket, teammates, family, and fans in an emotional note, penned ahead of the third and final ODI, in Belfast.
“I am so thankful for the friendships I’ve gained around the world, you will always be with me and I hope to cross paths again in the near future. “To Zimbabwe Cricket, thank you for the opportunity and I hope I have made our country proud in some small way.
“To my teammates and coaches past and present, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To the fans back home who have always been so loyal to me over the years, I am eternally grateful,” said Taylor.
He regards the 2015 ICC World Cup as his best. Taylor became the first Zimbabwean to score back-to-back tons, at the tournament, with his big scores coming against Ireland and India.
The 138 he made against India powered Zimbabwe to a competitive score of 286 runs. However, India rallied back and won the match by six wickets. “The game has taught me a lot, grateful for what I’ve been able to do,” he told commentators before the start of the rain-affected game yesterday.
“I wouldn’t change it for the world. “My performance against India in the 2015 World Cup was probably the pinnacle. I’d like to at some point to come back and give back to the game, very passionate about it.
‘‘For now, I’ll spend time with family, test myself with something different but will definitely be back.” His announcement led to messages of support, from fellow Zimbabwean cricketers, as well as some of the game’s leading figures, around the world.
“You’re a legend my friend! Well done on a great career on and off the field!,” said former South Africa captain, AB de Villiers. Former Zimbabwe international, Kyle Jarvis, shared the same sentiments.
“The term legend gets thrown around loosely these days, but not in this case! BT, what an honour it was playing alongside you, all these years…will see you on the other side of the rope,” said Jarvis.
Zimbabwe all-round Ryan Burl felt Taylor had shaped careers of young cricketers like him. ‘‘We will miss you sorely on the field bud. Fortunately, you have an exciting chapter ahead, with no more team meetings and warm-ups to look forward to.
‘‘Go well legend,” said Burl. Former Zimbabwe top order batsman Vusi Sibanda also hailed Taylor. “It’s not often we get commendable remarks when we put our tools down. On this one, congratulations BT. ‘‘You led from the front and you will surely be missed!” said Sibanda.