NATIONAL cricket team captain Brendan Taylor became only the third Zimbabwe international cricketer to sign for an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise after being snapped up by the Sunrisers Hyderabad during the 2014 Pepsi IPL Player Auction held at the ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru yesterday.
Retired off-spinner Ray Price was the last Zimbabwean player to feature in the IPL as a late inclusion for Mumbai Indians owing to injuries but since then, no local players have been seriously considered for the money-spinning cricket league.
Former Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu was the first Zimbabwean to play in the IPL when he represented the Kolkata Knight Riders at the first edition of the tournament in 2008.
Taibu had built a reputation in a successful career as a wicketkeeper batsman.
Yesterday Taylor, who had missed out in previous IPL auctions became the latest local star to join an IPL franchise after being auctioned to Sunrisers Hyderabad for a base price of 3 000 000 Indian Rupees ($48,321).
The solid opening batsman, who celebrated his 28th birthday last week, said he was delighted to have finally made the grade.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” an elated Taylor said. “It’s still a bit surreal, but I feel very honoured and lucky to be part of this prestigious tournament.
“I’ve missed out the last few years and it’s nice to finally be rewarded after all the hard work. It was a very special moment for me and I’m very grateful.”
Taylor, who has played 23 Twenty 20 (T20) Internationals, scoring at an average of 26,16 runs said he was hopeful that his breakthrough would see other local players making the grade in the lucrative competition which has eluded local talent in the last few years.
“Absolutely I know we have the talent and I hope the players keep developing. There’s no reason why more local players cannot be involved in the future. They’ve got so much to offer,” he said.
Taylor has built a reputation as a reliable wicketkeeper batsman which has seen him featuring in domestic T20 competitions in New Zealand and Bangladesh.
He will be joined at the Hyderabad-based franchise by a host of fellow overseas players such as vice-captain Darren Sammy, the West Indies skipper, Proteas star paceman Dale Steyn, Indian star Shikhar and Australia’s David Warner.