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We will continue being aggressive - Brendan Taylor

Firdose Moonda

November 7, 2011

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

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

Posted by mahjut on (November 8, 2011, 15:25 GMT)

it would be very very harsh to drop Waller, but Lamb may be a good replacement as he will actually get a bowl - though that may not be needed with the attack I mentioned. the thing is, if they went in with Cremer (attacking) and Vitori and Cremer didn't take wickets they'd probably need a second spinner and i've seen no evidence they'll turn to Waller. Of course Hammie can contain and give the quicks a rest... I think it's nice they have options!!

Posted by mahjut on (November 8, 2011, 15:20 GMT)

Sachit1979: I'm not sure the bowling is such a negative ... 3 decent bowlers is as many as we've ever had and i think Cremer being an attacking spinner will be a great addition while Vitori showed 'spark' - whether that turns into fire is unclear, but the spark was there. That could mean a four-pronged attack (with Price possibly losing out) and Meth or Chigumbura to fill the fifth bowlers slot. That also lenthens the tail considerably as Meth (or Chigumbura) and Cremer will always chip in with a few down the order and Jarvis will be a decent number 9. Vusi/(if absent;Mutizwa/Chakabva - though not openning), Mawoyo, Masakadza, Taylor, Taibu (w/k), Waller, Meth/Chigumbura, Cremer, Jarvis, Vitori/Price and Mpofu ...will be a stronger team than the one that just lost to NZ ( though Vitori has probably earned another go, especially in NZ where the wickets are far more likely to be like Harare - where he looked good - than Bulawayo - where he didn't!)

Posted by Sachit1979 on (November 8, 2011, 13:50 GMT)

I am very much impressed with recent showings by Zimbabwe and hats off to their new leader Brendon Taylor. He has really shown great character and courage to take Zimbabwe Cricket forward. He looks like filling the shoes vacated by legend Cricketer Andy Flower. Taibu, young Malcolm Waller, Sibanda and Chigumbura are few others who equally deserve the praise. Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakdza and Mutizwa are also good but they need to be more consistent. But minus points for Zimbabwe start with their insipid bowling attack. As of now Kyle Jarvis, Mpofu and Raymond Price are only bowlers for them who have some spark otherwise rest of the attack is impactless. Keegen Meth and Utseya are options in limited formats but those also have their own limitations. Zimbabwe needs to do some serious ground work in bowling department to make it world class. For tests they need to show some patience with bowlers like Lamb and Rainsford and for limited formats they need to explore more options to try out.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

Well done Taylor am fully behind you .we are almost there .am proud of u

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

With a bit of help from Zim Cricket admin and more sponsorship Zim is coming ok, it was very disheartening to lose in such a fashion, if it wasnt for the world class bowling of Vettori and Bracewel Ziim was on track. There are many guys who can still come in and make a difference, players like Ad Reinsfold shud also have a say, many youngsters are coming along. Positive sign for our boys.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 8, 2011, 11:46 GMT)

Zim are a breath of fresh air when you consider the dull cricket SL and Pak just played over 3 tests. What's more Zim have plenty to offer and will challenge most of the teams outside the top 4 in the near future. They have talented pace and spin bowlers along wtih Taylor, some talented batsman. With a little exposure I see Zim being a decent forcce in the next few years. No one who loves the game would have an issue with Taylors decision to chase the 300+ and as Price said when he came in to bat - 'this is why we play the game' and for the rest of us - its why we watch the game.

Posted by TrickDaddy on (November 8, 2011, 11:28 GMT)

Well played boys and Thomas Alexis Webb well put across, i believe we are getting better with each match. ZC need to start arranging series going forward. Also the domestic matches need to increase, teams should play each other atleast twice home both in ODI and T20..

Posted by streetblader on (November 8, 2011, 9:20 GMT)

New Zealand might have won the match... Zimbabwe won hearts!!

Posted by D-Train on (November 8, 2011, 9:10 GMT)

I'd be a lot more proud of a team like Zimbabwe who have a crack at winning and lose than a team like Pakistan who choose to draw when they could easily win. They had a chance to win and i'm happy they tried their best.

Posted by Nduru on (November 8, 2011, 9:02 GMT)

I totally agree with @Meety: If Zim had gone for a draw and attempted to block out the last day, they would have been bowled out for around 150. By attacking, they really showed what they can do despite the narrow loss. As time goes on they will learn how to balance attack and defence.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 6:37 GMT)

The team played very well. You add the injured players to the mix and we have a very good team. In Taylor Zim have a good cricket brain as a leader. Just hope that Vitori and Cremer will be back for the NZ series early next year.

Posted by KingofRedLions on (November 8, 2011, 6:21 GMT)

If how they played during the test is the "familiar plateau" Firdose was talking about before the test, it's a mighty fine plateau to be on.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 5:49 GMT)

With all the whingeing about test cricket I think this match best served to show how test cricket could and should be played. Who wants to watch a yawn of a match when you can watch a game played in the proper spirit. Tough luck Zim but well played all the same.

Posted by satish619chandar on (November 8, 2011, 5:46 GMT)

They have heart and courage to fight.. Wish they win some matches.. I enjoy watching Zimbabwe play.. Play to win and do it sensibly!! The key is not over attacking!!

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 5:40 GMT)

Can he be the captain of Pakistan's test team?

Posted by RandyOZ on (November 8, 2011, 1:37 GMT)

Well done BT, I see Zimbabwe moving above the likes of NZ and SL very soon!

Posted by   on (November 8, 2011, 1:07 GMT)

A strong, gutsy Zimbabwe is good for test cricket, I admire the way they play , and in Taylor they have a brave and imaginative leader who could be sniffing around the 5 and 6 slots in any test side in the world. They have come back with all the right elements to do well at all levels.

At full strength they have a opening pair who can attack and defend, often at the same time, an experienced and versatile middle order with an excellent linchpin in Taylor, as well as a solid keeper-batsman with many potential replacements. They also have a seam bowling all-rounder who can contribute solidly with the ball, and take the game away with the bat

As far as the bowlers go they have an aggressive and frugal left-arm spinner, a talented young leggie who can bat, plus two talented, complimentary new-ball bowlers and the experienced Mpofu

With these elements, plus young guys coming through, they have the chance not just to turn up, but to compete and succeed at the highest level

Posted by Meety on (November 8, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

My take on this match was - if Zimbabwe didn't go for the win, they would of lost anyway. This is not taking away from Zimbabwe, it is more about NZ being able to set more attacking fields for longer. I don't think a draw was a viable option, the middle order is more aggressive than the top order - so they needed to play their natural game. I think the tail end let Zimbabwe down. Anytime you get to within 50 runs off a test - you always wonder if you could of done things better differently. Fact is though, NZ had a reasonable test standard attack & are generally pretty disciplined & they went in for the kill very well.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 23:56 GMT)

Well played Brendon Taylor, Zim. and the NZ Team. It doesn't make sense for a team to declare on the last day and set 400 + runs as a target. Like wise chasing a small target and bating for a draw.... like boring India couldn't chase 186 to win on the last day vs West Indies in the Carribbean.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 23:49 GMT)

well done Zimbabwe people will come an see attractive cricket like you're displaying.Keep playing this way an the results will come

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 23:30 GMT)

Well played Brendon Taylor, Zim. and the NZ Team. It doesn't make sense for a team to declare on the last day and set 400 + runs as a target. Like wise chasing a small target and bating for a draw.... like boring India couldn't chase 186 to win on the last day vs West Indies in the Carribbean. Saving Test Cricket is up to the Players and team.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (November 7, 2011, 22:25 GMT)

I admired the effort by Taylor n Zim. 34 runs is not a huge loss. Their bowlers also fought well to restrict NZ for under 500 in the first inning. They may not be the most talented team in the world but they have surprised me with their spirit and maturity (something that a more talentd Bangladesh lack) and with more matches I can see them becoming another NZ. I personally belive Ire too are similar and can achieve as much IF given a chance.

Posted by boris6491 on (November 7, 2011, 22:22 GMT)

Really heartening to see Zimbabwe are mounting a challenge to a good test playing team and having the guts to go for glory. I like that and if only more minnows would do that, the game would be better off for it.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2011, 19:34 GMT)

I always liked Zimbabwe Team...wish them the best of luck. They have the talent to make an impact

Posted by Nduru on (November 7, 2011, 19:23 GMT)

Well said Brendan and well done on the positive approach. I do think that there will be better lower order players in the team in future. For example, Cremer is a very good lower order bat, and Jarvis and Vitori are also not bad. It is only dissapointing that Price seems like a genuine bunny these days as I thought he was a bit better than that. We all know about Mpofu's prowess! So it is no surprise that after we are 6 down, we collapse like a deck of cards. Can't help feeling Mutizwa might have performed a bit better than Chakabva, but Regis did not do badly in the first innings.

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