Brendan Ross Murray Taylor (born 6 February 1986) is a Zimbabwean international cricketer, and a former Zimbabwean captain. Taylor is a right-handed batsman but is also a part-time wicketkeeper and off spinner. He is regarded as one of the best batsmen in Zimbabwean cricketing history.
He captained Zimbabwe in ODIs until 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, having taken over the reins from Elton Chigumbura after the 2011 Cricket World Cup. He became the first Zimbabwean batsman to hit back-to-back One-Day International centuries (128 not out and 107 not out), achieved against New Zealand in October 2011. He repeated the feat again at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. He was selected to play Twenty20 cricket for the Wellington cricket team as an overseas player in New Zealand's HRV Twenty20 Cup in December 2011.
He played his last game for Zimbabwe on 15 March 2015 against India and ended with a magnificent century. He signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Nottinghamshire in 2015. This deal makes him ineligible to play international cricket for Zimbabwe. His 433 runs at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup set a new record for Zimbabwe in any World Cup. His 8 centuries in ODIs is also a Zimbabwe record surpassing Alistair Campbell's 7.
On 14 September 2017 Brendon terminated his contract with Nottinghamshire to return home to Zimbabwe. It was announced that Taylor had decided return home and play for Zimbabwe for personal reasons.
Taylor was nurtured by Iain Campbell, the father of Zimbabwean Test cricketer Alistair Campbell, at Lilfordia School near Harare. During his teens, Taylor emerged as a regular choice for national age-group teams and played in two Under-19 World Cups. He made his first-class debut for Mashonaland A at the age of 15. The very next year, he shot to prominence by scoring 200 not out in the B Division of the Logan Cup. Strong domestic performances and a mass exodus of top-level players forced Taylor into the national team at the age of 18 against Sri Lanka in 2003–04.
Taylor made his debut for Zimbabwe at a time when many of the country's leading players rebelled against Zimbabwe Cricket (formally known as the Zimbabwean Cricket Union) and made themselves unavailable to represent the side. Consequently, to fill the gap, many young players were prematurely brought into the team, which weakened the side, especially at Test level. Taylor was one of the youngest and most promising in this lot. In 2006, despite not having signed a new contract, he was selected in the national team. Soon, he took over the wicketkeeping responsibilities as well following the temporary departure of Tatenda Taibu. He shot to international prominence after his 60 not out helped Zimbabwe achieve a five-wicket upset over Australia in the 2007 ICC World Twenty20.
In July/August 2007, Taylor was re-selected for the Zimbabwe Select team against South Africa A, having not been available against India A. He scored just 15 runs (2 and 13) in the second first-class match, having been overlooked for the first game. With Tatenda Taibu back in the team, Taylor was no longer needed behind the stumps. In the ODI series against the full South Africa team, the entire Zimbabwe squad performed above themselves (including their highest ODI score against South Africa), but falling short on all 3 occasions. Taylor too had a good series, ending as the 5th highest run-scorer, with 105 runs at 35.00. Taylor's first Twenty20 outing was vs Eagles, Sept 2006 and the second was versus Bangladesh, Dec 2006.
Defeating Bangladesh, 2006
In the 3rd ODI of the Bangladesh tour of Zimbabwe (2006), Taylor played a crucial role in a Zimbabwe win. A close game throughout, Zimbabwe required 5 runs from the final ball, effectively meaning a 6 needed to be hit to win the game. Taylor successfully hit 6 off the bowling of Mashrafe Mortaza on the last ball, giving Zimbabwe the victory, and contributing to their series win.
The ICC World Cup 2007 campaign
After a relatively unsuccessful series at home against Bangladesh in February 2007, in which there were some concerns over his commitment to the team, he was still selected for the 15-man squad to tour to the West Indies for the World Cup. With over 60 ODIs under his belt, he is the team's most experienced player.
After a decent World Cup campaign, including 87 runs from 3 matches at an average of 29.00 (including a half-century; 50), Taylor went to play club cricket in the Netherlands, despite a ruling by the Zimbabwe Cricket board that any player leaving the country to play club cricket would be overlooked for selection.
Defeating Australia, 2007
Into the action early, Taylor caught Matthew Hayden off then bowling of Chigumbura. Taylor was also involved in a first class stumping, which saw Andrew Symonds depart. Taylor also made a crucial run out, with only one stump to aim at, to dismiss Mitchell Johnson.
With Zimbabwe restricting Australia to just 138, by Twenty20 standards a poor score, Taylor also opened their innings. While Vusi Sibanda got the ball rolling with several quick boundaries, Taylor was the key man, and batted out the innings. With both teams reasonably even placed for the first dozen overs, it was when Brad Hodge came on to bowl his gentle offspin in the 15th over that Taylor turned the match in Zimbabwe's favour. 15 was scored from the over, including two massive sixes by Taylor, the longest of which went 77 metres. With 12 runs required from the final over, Taylor played a cheeky sweep which went for 4 from the first ball. Followed by a single, a two and another single, Zimbabwe needed 4 runs from 2 balls with Taylor facing, Chigumbura at the non-strikers end. With a ball to spare, 4 leg-byes were scored, with the ball running down to fine leg. Taylor ended with 60 not out from 45 deliveries. His fine all round performance with the bat and gloves won him the man of the match award.
In June 2008, Taylor joined the Lashings World XI based in England. This was seen as somewhat controversial due to reports of tension between Taylor and Zimbabwe Cricket Board, as a result of the board's policy of denying players to play abroad.
Against South Africa, 2010 and thereafter
Brendan Taylor scored 145* against the South African cricket team he carried his bat throughout the ODI innings and became only the ninth person to do so. South Africa scored 351/6 and Taylor scored 145 of 136 deliveries as Zimbabwe managed 287/6, yet again performing well with the bat but poorly with the ball That knock proved something of a turning point for him, and he struck another century in the same year against Sri Lanka and proved Zimbabwe's stand-out batsman at the 2011 World Cup, with his upper-cut to third man being the lasting images of the tournament.
Return to Test cricket, 2011
Following poor performances in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Taylor was appointed captain of Zimbabwe on 24 June 2011, taking over from Chigumbura. He captained the side on their return to Test cricket, against Bangladesh, at the Harare Sports Club on 4 August 2011. In the first innings of the match he scored 71 and during the second innings he scored 105* and he then became the second Zimbabwean to score a century in his first match as captain, Zimbabwe sealed a 130 run victory and Brendan Taylor was named man of the match for his century.
New Zealand Series, 2011
In the ODI series of New Zealand's tour to Zimbabwe, Taylor unleashed his best form to date. In the 1st ODI, he scored 128* rescuing Zimbabwe from a precarious position to a respectable 231. In the next match, he scored another century (107*) leading the charge from the front again and in the process, becoming the first ever Zimbabwean batsman to score back-to-back ODI tons. However, he did not receive any support from the other batsmen and despite his tons, Zimbabwe lost both the games. In the final ODI, chasing a sizable 329 to win, Taylor set the tone of the chase with a brisk 75 off 65 balls, which enabled Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura to give Zimbabwe a famous win. With 310 runs in the series at an average of 310.00 and a strike rate of over 100, Taylor was adjudged the Man of the Series. His 310 runs is also a record number of runs in a three-match ODI series. He scored 50 and 117 in the one off test match. By the process, Taylor became only the second Zimbabwean batsman after Kevin Arnott to score a century in the fourth innings of a Test match, and contained 5 huge sixes. Despite his half-century and his second Test cricket ton, New Zealand outlasted him to win a thrilling match. Despite that, Taylor said that his team will continue to play aggressive, attacking test cricket which drew widespread praise from all quarters. In 2011, as a result of his fine performances, he was named the cricketer of the year and the batsman of the year.
West Indies tour, 2013
Taylor only managed to muster a total of 33 runs in the two Tests against the West Indies, at an average of 18, in a Test series where Zimbabwe were comprehensively beaten by the home side, he also performed poorly in the ODI series, scoring 47 runs, averaging 15.66 with a high score of 39. He also played in the T20 series, only scoring 4 runs in 2 matches.
Taylor performed much better under home conditions against the touring Bangladeshis in April 2013. He topped the Test batting averages for the two Test series, average over 106 a match, with a high score of 171 in the first Test at the Harare Sports Club, leading Zimbabwe to draw the Test series 1–1. In the subsequent ODI series, he captained the side to a 2–1 victory in the tournament, although failing to replicate his scores from the Test series. He also led Zimbabwe to draw the T20 series against Bangladesh 1–1.
2015 Cricket World Cup
In the 2015 cricket world cup Taylor scored two back to back centuries. The first one was against Ireland, where he scored 121 runs from 91 balls. Before the last group stage game against India, Taylor decided to retire from One Day internationals at the mere age of 29. On his last match Taylor scored 138 runs from 110 balls. He was congratulated by both his team and the opposition team India after he got out. He also signed for Nottinghamshire for the 2015 English cricket season. It was later revealed that he retired from international cricket, along with Kyle Jarvis, while Craig Ervine rejected a central contract with Zimbabwe, all of which were due to financial circumstances. It is also part of the reason that Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance emigrated to England, and represents England instead.
In the Test arena, Taylor's performances were somewhat below what one would expect of a player at Test level. However, this was attributed to his young age and premature elevation to the national team. However, since Zimbabwe's return to the Test circuit, Taylor has shown remarkable maturity, both as the side's leading batsman and captain. He scored two Test centuries and when he scored a century in the fourth innings of the Test match against New Zealand, on a fifth day pitch, (inclusive of 5 huge sixes), he became the second Zimbabwean after Arnott to score a fourth-innings century in a Test match. Taylor has announced that his team will continue to play aggressive, attacking test cricket which drew widespread praise from all quarters. He also scored two half-centuries, 71 against Bangladesh and 50 against New Zealand.
Although Taylor is basically a top-order batsman, he has been in the past been successful as a part-time off-break bowler. He was Zimbabwe's first choice wicketkeeper, but gave up the wicketkeeping gloves after the return of Taibu behind the stumps. Following Taibu's retirement in July 2012, Taylor sometimes keeps wicket in ODIs and T20s but not in Tests.
Taylor has been playing in Zimbabwe's domestic first-class competition, the Logan Cup, since 2001–02. His domestic one-day debut came for Mashonaland in 2003–04.
In the domestic circuit he is one of the most reliable and successful batsman, and in 68 first-class matches, he already has 4,719 with a highest score of 217 and a batting average of 39.99. In List A cricket, he has played 184 matches, scoring 5,528 runs, with a personal best of 145*. His average in those matches are 33.30. In Twenty20 cricket, he has 1,307 in 47 matches at an average of 33.51.
Brendan Taylor was one of the star players in the 2007–08 Metropolitan Bank Twenty20. Taylor missed out on that elusive Twenty20 century by 15 runs when he scored 85 not out against Southerns in the second match of the tournament. Batting first, Taylor opened the batting and guided the Northerns to 3/227 after 20 overs, before going on to record a massive 158 run win. He also scored a second half century, 63 not out, against Centrals, a match Northerns won by 9 wickets with 6 balls to spare. Taylor was the second highest run scorer of the tournament, smashing 168 runs at an average of 84.00.
He scored 95 in his only appearance for Northerns, in the 2008–09 Logan Cup. His team won the match by a massive innings and 290 runs.
In the 2011–12 Stanbic Bank 20 Series, Taylor overcame a blistering ton by Chris Gayle to lead his team Mid West Rhinos to victory. The 171-run massive chase turned out to be a seven-wicket win with three balls to spare, mostly due to Taylor's match-winning knock of 75 in which he shared stands of 56 with the New Zealander Lou Vincent, and then a match-changing 105 for the third wicket with Gary Ballance, who made a quickfire 67 off 34 balls, including four sixes. It was the Rhinos' first win of the tournament.
Taylor was given a contract to represent Wellington as an overseas player in New Zealand's HRV Twenty20 Cup in December 2011. He made his debut for Auckland in the 2011–12 HRV Cup game against Wellington. Wellington went on to finish bottom of the ladder, with just two wins from 10 games, but Taylor was the side's highest scorer with 207 runs, and the eleventh best overall.
In 2013, Taylor was signed by the Chittagong Kings for $30,000. The King's got off to a poor start, however Taylor was one of the highest scorers in the league during this stretch. After the first 5 games, Mahmudullah resigned as the King's captain and Taylor was charged with the captain's duty. With his experience from leading the Zimbabwe National side and Uthura Rudras (Sri Lankan Premier League), Taylor led King's on a 4-game win streak. While on the hot streak, Taylor was the team's leading scorer and 3rd in the league with 316 total runs. Kings ended up reaching the BPL Final, but due to illness Taylor had to return home. Taylor-less Kings came up short in the final, finally losing to the Dhaka Gladiators.
It has also been announced Taylor will play cricket for Tasmania in the 2013–14.
Sunrisers Hyderabad purchased him at IPL 2014 auction for Rs. 30,00,000
On 13 March 2015, Taylor signed as a Kolpak player for Nottinghamshire, on a three-year contract. On the same day, he announced his retirement from international cricket.
- Taylor scored 310 runs against New Zealand in ODI series in October 2011. This was the world record for most runs in a three-match bilateral ODI series until it was superseded by Martin Guptill (330 runs) in June 2013 and then currently holds by Pakistani Babar Azam (360 runs) who did it during the West Indian cricket team against Pakistan in the UAE in 2016–17 Tayor was also the first player to score 300+ runs in a 3 match ODI series when he did it in 2011.He's also the leading runscorer for Zimbabwe in a 3 match ODI series with 310 runs.
- Brendan Taylor holds the record for having scored most number of ODI hundreds for Zimbabwe (8 ODI hundreds) surpassing Alistair Campbell's 7 ODI hundreds.
|Brendon Taylor's Test centuries|
|1||105*||11||Bangladesh||Harare, Zimbabwe||Harare Sports Club||2011||Won|
|2||117||13||New Zealand||Bulawayo, Zimbabwe||Queens Sports Club||2011||Lost|
|3||171||17||Bangladesh||Harare, Zimbabwe||Harare Sports Club||2013||Won|
|4||102*||17||Bangladesh||Harare, Zimbabwe||Harare Sports Club||2013||Won|
One Day International centuries
|Brendon Taylor's One Day International centuries|
|1||118*||90||Bangladesh||Chittagong, Bangladesh||Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium||2009||Lost|
|2||119*||101||Sri Lanka||Harare, Zimbabwe||Harare Sports Club||2010||Won|
|3||145*||106||South Africa||Bloemfontein, South Africa||Chevrolet Park||2010||Lost|
|4||106||122||Bangladesh||Harare, Zimbabwe||Harare Sports Club||2011||Lost|
|5||128*||127||New Zealand||Harare, Zimbabwe||Harare Sports Club||2011||Lost|
|6||107*||128||New Zealand||Harare, Zimbabwe||Harare Sports Club||2011||Lost|
|7||121||166||Ireland||Hobart, Australia||Bellerive Oval||2015||Lost|
|8||138||167||India||Auckland, New Zealand||Eden Park||2015||Lost|
Man of the match awards
- In this table Ct., refers to the Catches and St. refers to the Stumping
|1||Only Test – Bangladesh in Zimbabwe Test Series||2011||1st Innings – 71 (163 balls, 6x4); 1 ct.
2nd Innings - 105* (175 balls, 9x4); 1 ct. .
|Zimbabwe won by 130 runs.|
|1||1st Test – Bangladesh in Zimbabwe Test Series||2013||1st Innings – 171 (324 balls, 8x4, 2x6)
2nd Innings - 102* (146 balls, 5x4, 2x6); 1 ct. .
|Zimbabwe won by 335 runs.|
One-Day International Cricket
Man of the series awards
|1||Zimbabwe Triangular Series||2010||295 runs, 3 ct. (5 Matches)||Sri Lanka Won the series.|
|2||New Zealand in Zimbabwe||2011/12||310 runs. (3 Matches)||New Zealand Won the series 2-1.|
Man of the Match awards
|S No||Opponent||Venue||Date||Match Performance||Result|
|1||Bermuda||Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain||18 May 2006||98 (75 balls, 10x4) ; 1 ct.||Zimbabwe won by 194 runs.|
|2||Bangladesh||Harare Sports Club, Harare||2 August 2006||2 ct. 1 st. ; 79* (72 balls, 6x4, 3x6)||Zimbabwe won by 2 wickets.|
|3||India||Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo||28 May 2010||3 ct. ; 81 (103 balls, 4x4, 2x6)||Zimbabwe won by 6 wickets.|
|4||India||Harare Sports Club, Harare||3 June 2010||1 ct. ; 74 (90 balls, 6x4, 1x6)||Zimbabwe won by 7 wickets.|
|5||Sri Lanka||Harare Sports Club, Harare||7 June 2010||3 ct. ; 119* (138 balls, 9x4, 1x6)||Zimbabwe won by 8 wickets.|
|6||Ireland||Harare Sports Club, Harare||28 September 2010||71 (99 balls, 4x4)||Zimbabwe won by 3 wickets.|
Twenty20 International Cricket
Man of the match awards
|1||2007 ICC World Twenty20 4th match (ZIM vs AUS) in South Africa||2007||1 ct. , 1 st. ; 60* (45 balls, 4x4, 2x6)||Zimbabwe won by 5 wickets.|
|2||2014 ICC World Twenty20 7th match (ZIM vs NET) in Bangladesh||2014||49 (39 balls, 2x4, 1x6)||Zimbabwe won by 5 wickets.|