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We will continue being aggressive - Brendan Taylor

Firdose Moonda

November 7, 2011

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Brendan Taylor goes big over the leg side, Zimbabwe v New Zealand, only Test, Bulawayo, 5th day, November 5, 2011
Brendan Taylor hit five sixes in his second-innings 117 against New Zealand © AFP
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Brendan Taylor, the Zimbabwe captain, has said his team will continue to play attacking, aggressive Test cricket, even though chasing a win instead of playing for the draw against New Zealand in Bulawayo may have cost them the match. New Zealand won by 34 runs after setting Zimbabwe a steep 366 to chase for victory.

On a traditionally flat pitch, Zimbabwe decided to bat for a result, despite needing 305 on the final day with eight wickets standing. A century from Taylor and a half-century by Tatenda Taibu kept them in the hunt but a spectacular collapse, in which they lost six wickets for 44 runs, saw them end up on the losing side. Taylor said he had no regrets about thinking positively.

"If we want to become better cricketers, we have to play like that," he told ESPNcricinfo. "If you don't test yourself, you won't know how far you can go."

Taylor has only captained Zimbabwe in three Tests, but has already become known for brave decision making. In Zimbabwe's comeback Test, against Bangladesh in Harare in August, Taylor declared Zimbabwe's second innings on 291 for 5 early on the fourth day, setting Bangladesh 375 to win. Critics said Zimbabwe should have batted longer to ensure Bangladesh were out of the game but Taylor preferred to dangle the carrot instead. The result was a comprehensive 130-run win for Zimbabwe with two sessions to spare.

When Taylor found himself in the opposite situation, with New Zealand leaving Zimbabwe a gettable target, he accepted the challenge. "You have to be realistic and we felt that it was realistic to go for the win." Even though Zimbabwe have a short batting line-up, which Taylor admits "stops at No. 7," Taylor felt that with two frontline batsmen occupying the crease for most of the day the target was within reach. He shared a 108-run fourth-wicket partnership with Taibu and believed one of them would take Zimbabwe over the line. "I wanted us both to spend a session or a session-and-a-half at the crease and thought that if one of us was there at the end, we could win."

It was when the pair were dismissed that the collapse began, which raised questions about Zimbabwe's lack of stability in the lower-middle order. "We are missing some guys through injury," Taylor said. "Elton Chigumbura is struggling with a hamstring injury and Graeme Cremer has been out for a while [with a knee injury]. They could really make a difference."

While the cricketing world was touched, disappointed and some even a little heartbroken for Zimbabwe after they lost, Taylor said the team were not overcome by a sense of gloom. "Within 20 minutes afterwards we were ok. We had a meeting and everyone was very praiseworthy of each other. We gave it our all; for five days we played good cricket and to take it late into the fifth day we knew we had done something right."

Since their return to Test cricket, Zimbabwe have won one Test and lost two, won four ODIs, including a record run-chase against New Zealand, but lost seven and been defeated in four Twenty20 internationals. Taylor said it's not the numbers but the progress that matters.

"To have won the third ODI against New Zealand gave us confidence and we came close in the Test. We can hold our heads high. The senior guys have performed and helped the younger guys."

The Test against New Zealand saw contributions from several of the more-experienced players in the team. Vusi Sibanda scored 93 in the first innings and Chris Mpofu showed an understanding of the conditions to take 4 for 92, before Taylor and Taibu shone on the final day. There were also impressive performances from some of the younger players: Kyle Jarvis took 5 for 64 and Malcolm Waller, on debut, scored an undefeated 72 in the first innings. "We can take positives out of all of these things," Taylor said.

Zimbabwe have a break for the next two months, during which the players will play in the local T20 competition. Their first assignment next year is a tour of New Zealand that consists of a one-off Test, three ODIs and two T20s. It will provide a barometer to measure how Zimbabwe cope in foreign conditions.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by MENDIS_Forever on (November 9, 2011, 14:42 GMT)

H..my previous comment is about SL bashers. But really enjoyed the way Zimbabwe played.I supported u guys,and sad to see u losing that match.All the best Zimbabwe!

Posted by Mark00 on (November 9, 2011, 14:27 GMT)

I hope so. They have become one of the best teams to watch. While they're at it, they should petition the ICC to get rid of the bouncer rules which, as every fast bowling great will tell you, has killed fast bowling. Fast bowling is about aggression and bouncer restrictions have castrated fast bowlers to such an extent that, despite more people playing cricket than ever before, we actually have far fewer that could actually be termed "fast." With the high density foam armor they go out with these days, there's no longer even the slightest justification to continue to curb the most thrilling dimension of the sport.

Posted by   on (November 9, 2011, 11:27 GMT)

Brendon Taylor was really awesome and the future for Zimbabwe cricket is very bright. It reminded me of the wonderful knock played by Kevin O'brien against England at the World cup. No matter that Zim lost the match the have found a new attacking player and a future captain to lead them.

Posted by   on (November 9, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

I was impressed by the charisma of Brandon Taylor in the series against NZ. Its good that Taylor is leading by example but we need more of this Taylor attitude from the middle-low order. The bowling departnemt has to be improved otherwise I feel Zim is back on track. The bigger test teams should watch out coz the tables are turning fast. NZ should be worried after their tour of Zim.

Posted by Ashique129 on (November 8, 2011, 18:17 GMT)

After this test, I have rekindled my love for the Zimbabwe cricket. If you guys keep it up, it is simply a matter of time when you topple the reckless Bangladesh (my native) in the test ranking and look further up. Many better and stronger teams would have fought for safety but you went for the glory. It was a win-win situation for you anyway as NZ would be the ones who had everything to lose. Really, a margin of 34 runs? I still consider this a win. Bravado to Brendan and to your street-fighters. I am sure more good things are on their way.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 18:14 GMT)

seriously i dont think New Zealand bowled positively but i have become a fan of Brendan Taylor i would exchange Misbah for him anyday i have become a huge fan you need guts to go for a win even though you risk losing although u know that ur country has newly been reinstated in the test arena and his declaration against the Bangladesh test was extraordinary he declared when even captains like steve waugh, Ricky ponting ( when he had likes of warne) and i daresay even clive lyod would not have declared. looking forward for some great performances and test matches from the Zimbabwe Best of LUCK Zimbabwe Brendan Taylor

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 18:10 GMT)

Best wishes from India my friends. Zimbabwe played the game like it should be, and while nothing speaks like the results they certainly showed the guts and gumption. Keep aiming higher, and plug the performance loopholes like the batting collapse, and you guys would win more! Luck be with you!

Posted by MENDIS_Forever on (November 8, 2011, 17:52 GMT)

Sri Lanka has just lost the faithful service of a champion,and suddenly people from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are talking about defeating SL. Not that easy mate.Give us few months.We will bounce back to give u a better treatment.

Posted by ibbani on (November 8, 2011, 17:16 GMT)

Mind blowing ZIMBABWE team, I cant digest that Coventry is not in the team. that dashing batsmen had scored 194 and had a sight of double ton in a ODI, but could not achieve. ZIM are 1000 times superior than the hyped BAN team. BAN dont deserve to be in Test ranking table. ZIM has to persist on their strengths and does not matter if the lose another 4-5 tests, by that they can gain many good lesson and go into defeating the world best teams.

Posted by Gossip-Bouy on (November 8, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

that was good cricket from both teams. credit has to be given to New Zealand bowlers for fighting hard in a situation were it seemed Zimbabwe had won the game. Allan Butcher the Zimbabwean coach you are great the way the Zimbabwean game has changed since you took over you clearly headed for great things ahead. Brendon Taylor you are just what zim needs keep it up and come january you will beat New Zealand

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