Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor has decided to call time on his 17-year career at the highest level. The 34-year-old former captain and one of the most recognisable cricketers from his country will play his final match on Monday, the third ODI against Ireland in Belfast.
Taylor made his debut for Zimbabwe in 2004 in an ODI against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo, and has since risen to become one of the mainstays of the side. He did his best work in ODI cricket, scoring 6677 runs from 204 matches, which leaves him tantalisingly close to becoming Zimbabwe's highest run-getter in the format. He already stands leagues ahead of any Zimbabwean with 11 ODI hundreds. He walks away with 2320 runs from 34 Test matches and 934 runs from 45 T20Is.
Taylor made the announcement on Instagram on Sunday.
"It's with a heavy heart that I'm announcing that tomorrow is my last game for my beloved country," he wrote. "17 year's of extreme highs and extreme lows and I wouldn't change it for the world.
"It's taught me to 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 better position as to when I first arrived back in 2004 , I hope I have done that."
Taylor made his debut in the immediate aftermath of Zimbabwe's white-player walkout and became known as a determined run-scorer, not always in favour of using his feet but a good innovator - he made the ramp shot his own. He was part of the Zimbabwe squad in both the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, a period in which they did not play Test cricket, following a self-imposed exile from the longest format as they tried to rebuild.
Once Zimbabwe were ready to compete in Tests again, in August 2011, Taylor was named their captain. All told, he was in charge for 16 matches, of which they won three, and emerged as a much-needed leader at a time of uncertainty in the country's game.
Taylor was Zimbabwe's leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, but left the national set-up when he signed a Kolpak deal with Nottinghamshire. In 2017, Taylor cut short his county deal and returned to Zimbabwe, in the hope of helping the team qualify for the 2019 World Cup. They narrowly missed out in the qualifying event and were also unable to participate in qualifiers for the T20 World Cup, because Zimbabwe Cricket was temporarily suspended from the ICC at the time. That means the next global tournament Zimbabwe could take part in is the 2022 T20 World Cup, but with Taylor sidelined from the shortest format, he may have been eyeing the 2023 50-over World Cup instead. However, Zimbabwe lie 12th out of 13th teams on the World Cup Super League points table and are likely to have to go through another qualifying tournament.
They will have to do so without Taylor, Kyle Jarvis and Sean Williams, all of whom have announced their retirements in the last three months. Jarvis has moved on to business interests, while Williams is believed to have several concerns with the running of the game in Zimbabwe. As things stand at the moment, Zimbabwe's fixture list for the next year is scant. They are due to host Afghanistan, Ireland and Bangladesh over the next year but no official fixtures have been announced.