Zimbabwe news March 11, 2015

Taylor goes Kolpak, 'retires' from Zimbabwe cricket

Arya Yuyutsu

Play 02:17
'Very sad to leave Zimbabwe cricket' - Taylor

Wicketkeeper-batsman Brendan Taylor is set to play his final game for Zimbabwe when he takes the field against India in their last Group B game of the 2015 World Cup. Taylor has signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Nottinghamshire, subject to ECB approval, which makes him ineligible to play for Zimbabwe while that contract is in effect. On the eve of the India match, Taylor tweeted he had "decided to retire from ZC".*

Taylor's availability for Nottinghamshire will be confirmed following the World Cup. He could also go on to qualify for England.

Calling the decision the biggest one he has had to make, Taylor said he was sad to leave Zimbabwe cricket but had made the choice with his family in mind.

"It's been one of the biggest decisions I've had to make; in fact the biggest decision," Taylor told ESPNcricinfo two days before the match against India in Auckland. "I've always been very passionate about playing for Zimbabwe, I still am. I sat down with my wife and we decided to make this decision together. It hasn't been easy. I feel very sad about it but at the same time very excited to be a part of one of the better county sides in England. They've welcomed me with open arms and I'm looking forward to cementing a good relationship with them over the next three years.

"But I'm very, very sad to leave Zimbabwe cricket. I've had some fond memories and I have some great friends here but life goes on and you have to try and make the best decisions for your family and moving forward."

Taylor, 29, has been the lynchpin of Zimbabwe's batting, and has played 23 Tests and 26 T20Is. The match against India will be his 167th ODI. He has 5120 ODI runs and 1493 Test runs, both at an average of 34. He was appointed captain after the 2011 World Cup, as Zimbabwe worked towards a return from a self-imposed exile from Test cricket. He led them to a successful Test comeback later that year, in which he also scored his maiden century, and to a win over Pakistan a month later.

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 was relieved of the limited-overs' captaincy duties in July last year when Zimbabwe Cricket restructured and split the leadership. Taylor remained in charge of the Test team but Elton Chigumbura took over the job in other formats. Taylor gave the new captain his full support.

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 Watmore, 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 confident Zimbabwe could stay strong after Taylor's exit.

"It is true we will be missing Brendon taylor who is be going to Nottingham and they are very 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.

Taylor is the second Zimbabwe player to go Kolpak after the Test comeback. Kyle Jarvis signed for Lancashire in August 2013. Sources close to the Zimbabwe side said players have taken the news "surprisingly well" after learning that Taylor that would be moving on.

1.45GMT, March 13: This article was updated following Brendan Taylor's tweet.

Arya Yuyutsu is a multi-media journalist for ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2015, 13:12 GMT

    Huge lost for Zimbabwe, i coudn't image future of Zimbabwe cricket

  • Howard on March 14, 2015, 20:05 GMT

    There were four Taylors at the World Cup: Brendan, Ross, Jerome, James. Brendan has been easily the best but only Ross will be there for the quarter finals.

  • Syed on March 14, 2015, 19:14 GMT

    Taylor revamps cricket Zimbabwe after their cricket suffered from turmoil, I remembered johnson/goodwin also left zimbabwe cricket in the past alongwith many others good players, which is also v unfortunate as they got very limited number of player to represent their country on international level. Zimbabwe cricket looks dark due to poor management by their board by not preserving players like Taylor.

  • Muhammad Ammar on March 14, 2015, 17:27 GMT

    Best of luck Brendan Taylor. It's pretty hard to make such decisions. But this is ZC's failure to retain their such a successful player. I know, no one can be a necessity, but you plant seed, then water it, then grow it and then it bears fruit, you care its fruit, and then fruit is mature, and finally you lose it for nothing. ZC's toll is two now. It's a shame. A fan from Pakistan.

  • Dealz on March 14, 2015, 17:01 GMT

    India's skeletons out of the cupboard. Seems like couple of good performances in the beginning, then 3 lowly affairs they won easily, finaly tested max by Zimbabwe. Any other better team on this day would have beaten India. Mr. Dhoni's continued but blind faith of great Sir Jadeja is going to backfire heavily. Honestly i wish Bangladesh gives India a tough fight or even throw the Indians out in QF. Has to be one of the worst all rounders in Indian history. Suresh Raina eill be found out by Rubel and team. Rohit and Shikar are still scratching around uncertainly. Over reliance on Virat and Dhoni at this time. So amidst all the 6 match win streak, peel the layer and you will find a fragile Indian team.

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2015, 15:16 GMT

    No disrespect to Taylor, he has to think about his family his personal life, and money is very important, considering career as a sportsman is pretty short anyway, he has to think about his future. However, this is certainly not the right kind of precedent being set. First Kyle Jarvis and now Taylor, not good news for Zimbabwe cricket at all. International sport, not just cricket, means representing your nation, everyone does not get this sort of opportunity, especially countries that don't have a lot of international, economic or military might are known through their sports men/women. Again, I am not trying to judge Brendan Taylor here, I have no right to be a critic of a decision that he had to take for not just himself but his future as well. However, this sort of a thing has happened before and probably will also happen in the future as well, but it does not make the issue more commendable in my view.

  • saleh on March 14, 2015, 15:03 GMT

    He's one of the best players in world cricket.But,he doesn't get much respect for the low ranking team.He's a great player for Zimbabwe cricket.Hopefully,he'll return very soon

  • Vikram on March 14, 2015, 14:16 GMT

    Great decision & well timed. Given how English Cricket is at the moment, very soon Taylor will be playing for England.

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2015, 12:47 GMT

    We miss another great tribute

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2015, 9:07 GMT

    True Gentleman Brendan Taylor All the best