FORMER Zimbabwe national cricket Test captain Brendan Taylor yesterday revealed that he made his decision to retire from international cricket during the disastrous tour of Bangladesh last year where the national side lost all three Tests and five one-day internationals (ODIs).
Explaining how he arrived at the decision to end his 11-year flirtation with the national side Taylor said he struggled to enjoy cricket during the forgettable tour which resulted in the sacking of then national coach Stephen Mangongo.
“To be honest with you my decision was made before the World Cup in Bangladesh,” Taylor said during a press briefing at Harare Sports Club after the team’s arrival from the World Cup on Monday evening.
“For once I struggled to enjoy my cricket, I felt we weren’t heading in the right direction as a team and my main outcome out of that was to make a decision that would benefit my kids and my family as a whole.
“I’m very grateful and appreciative of what Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have had to offer me over the years but at end of the day family is more important than our jobs,” he added.
Taylor (29) will join Nottinghamshire, England, after signing a three-year deal with the English county championship side which makes him ineligible to play for Zimbabwe for that time.
A loyal servant to the national cricket side since making his international debut as a fresh faced 18-year-old, Taylor bid farewell with a breathtaking 138 in his team’s final cricket World Cup group match against defending champions India at Eden Park.
Taylor, who had scored another century in the team’s penultimate World Cup match against Ireland, took the opportunity to thank fans for their support throughout the years.
“I would like to say thank you to the fans. We have seen how they have grown in numbers and turned up for every game day in day out to support us. I want to apologise to them; I don’t want to leave them and my teammates behind, it’s been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my life and it’s a decision that has really hurt me although I feel it’s a positive decision,” he said.
Taylor said although leaving, he was confident the team was heading in the right direction with Australian Davenell “Dav” Whatmore at the helm despite winning just one out of six Pool Five games at the World Cup.
“I feel his strength is to get inside the mental capacity of the individual and get the best out of him. He’s a good organiser, very experienced, speaks really well and his communication with players was his strong point and I think everyone got what he had to say,” he said.
“At the end of the day it would have been convenient, but Zimbabwe Cricket made a rapid decision to bring him as soon as possible before the start of the World Cup and I think it’s hard to perform miracles in such a short space of time as a coach.
“I understand there’s a possibility he might be here for a long term and I think that would be a fantastic decision to make and he’ll certainly move the team forward.”
Meanwhile, ODI and Twenty20 skipper Elton Chigumbura said although the team had struggled to finish well in their matches, he felt they had made some significant strides for the better during the World Cup.
“It’s a big positive. Looking at the tour of Bangladesh and the way we played at the World Cup, there’s a big improvement especially with the bat,” he said.
“It’s just unfortunate we didn’t manage to finish the matches well. I know we struggled with our death bowling but the batting department also didn’t manage to finish well.”
Chigumbura, who missed the last two matches due to injury, conceded that Taylor would be a huge loss to the team, but challenged other players, himself included, to step up and fill the void he will leave behind.
“Obviously he’s a guy who has represented us for a long time, but at the end of the day you have to respect his decision. I think there are still other guys who can play his role. There’s myself, Craig Ervine and Regis Chakabva,” Chigumbura added.