Zimbabwe news June 24, 2011

Taylor named Zimbabwe captain

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brendan Taylor has been named as Zimbabwe's new captain ahead of the team's return to Tests, taking over from allrounder Elton Chigumbura. His first duty as captain will be to lead the team against Australian and South African A sides at home, with their first game against Australia A at Harare Sports Club on June 29.

Taylor admitted he was surprised when he heard the news. "Yes I was surprised, but happy at the same time," Taylor told the Associated Press. "I know it's different when you are captain, but I don't see it affecting my performance."

There had been talk for some time over Chigumbura's continued captaincy tenure, and ESPNcricinfo learned that he was on the brink of handing in his resignation in April. The following month, Chigumbura denied anything had been settled, saying: "Yes, at one time I contemplated quitting the post but I never officially tendered my resignation." Now it appears that instead of jumping, he has been pushed.

With former captain Tatenda Taibu having made clear his disinterest in a return to the leadership role, Taylor was one of a number of senior players in the running for the position. His sparkling form in recent years will certainly have done him no harm - since his maiden one-day century against Bangladesh in November 2009 he's averaged 38.96 and hit two further hundreds against quality opposition - and he is one of a handful of current players with Test experience, having played 10 games before Zimbabwe's suspension in 2006.

One thing he doesn't have a great deal of experience in is captaincy at the top level. He has led his franchise, Mid West Rhinos, on the odd occasion but played under Tatenda Taibu and Tino Mawoyo at Under-19 level before making his national debut, aged just 18, in 2004. Nevertheless, he was noticeably vocal in the field in his short stints as Zimbabwe's wicketkeeper and despite his run-ins with the cricket authorities in the past is undoubtedly a senior member of the side.

One potential hiccup that appears to have been pleasingly side-stepped is the issue of race: Taylor is Zimbabwe's first white captain since Terry Duffin led the side to the Caribbean in 2006 and, given the acrimonious race relations that led to the rebel saga in 2004, there was a chance that the colour of his skin could be divisive.

Time will tell, but such have been the positive developments in Zimbabwean cricket in the last two years, the naming of a white captain on merit should be a non-event. Taylor would only have been appointed with the full approval of the board, and appears to have ZC managing director Ozias Bvute's backing. "We have watched Taylor develop into a mature, experienced player and we stand fully behind him in his new role," said Bvute.

Though Chigumbura was unwilling to finally relinquish the captaincy, the end of his rein may not be the worst news either for him or the team. He enjoyed some initial successes in the role, leading the team to victories against India and Sri Lanka in a home triangular series, but his own form slipped alarmingly and he averaged 21.06 with the bat and 158.50 with the ball in 20 ODIs as captain.

Zimbabwe desperately need a fit and firing Chigumbura in the lower order to give both their batting and bowling extra oomph. Without the added weight of the captaincy he could focus on regaining the form that brought him five characteristically rapid half-centuries and 23 wickets in the year before he took over from Prosper Utseya, and led to a county contract with Northamptonshire in 2010.

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  • Dummy4 on June 27, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Good. Could we have some belief now please?

  • Andrew on June 25, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    This is definately a good move for Zim as Elton did not really show himself to be a good enough captain. One thing I'd like to point out to those asking about how good Zim will be in tests: please do not expect too much too fast. It will be a slow building excercise with Zim pushing to take games to five days first, then drawing and then finally being in positions to win if they continue to build. This is what our old team did very well in the 1990s, but remember, we still used to lose to the big teams more often than not. Please do not do what the fans did to Bangla and expect too much too soon. Baby steps is the key here. Best of Luck Brendan and the Boys!

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    about time they got rid of chigumbura.at least now they can find someone to replace him in the 1st XI.goodness knows why his saga continued for so long.i highly believe that had he been dropped earlier zimbabwe would have done much better in the world cup.they were practically carrying a fielder instead of an allrounder.only teams like india with good batting line ups can afford such luxury.i hope ZC has learnt its lesson: "its not a cardinal sin to drop a captain from the starting line up"

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 10:53 GMT

    what cjoice did they have realy... Who else? The question for me is why did Chigumbura's saga continue for so long. Since April Chigumbura was a gooner why did they not act swiftly. How much time does Taylor have to learn before June 29?

  • Gavin on June 25, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    @Grutness: Yes! And then a shock return to international cricket for Australia's Mark Taylor, whereupon he is reinstated as the captain and we shall have our quartet

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    I like the way zimbos are preparing for the test comeback. Bangladesh will be in big trouble..

  • James on June 25, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Will the Windies take the hint and appoint Jerome Taylor in an attempt to solve their crises and create a triumvirate of Taylors in the top jobs?

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2011, 18:54 GMT

    New Zealand has its Taylor for captain, Zimbabwe now has their own! Will be waiting for the Taylor vs Taylor captaincy battle

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Yes brendon taylor is the best to captain zimb....nw

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    Would this be the first time two nations have captains by the same last name? I think Imran Khan was gone by the time Akram Khan (Bangladesh) came along .. any other case come to mind?

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