Growing family could see Taylor ending his English county adventure

By Robson Sharuko

HARARE – Two years ago, Brendan Taylor joined an elite company of cricketers to score back-to-back centuries at the ICC World Cup and after compiling a classic 138 against India at Eden Park in New Zealand, he announced he was turning his back on the international game to play county cricket in England. 

The Zimbabwean star became the only cricketer to ever score back-to-back World Cup hundreds in a losing cause with the Chevrons being beaten in their two matches against Ireland, controversially in Hobart, Australia, and then falling at the hands of India.

Taylor joined a special club of back-to-back World Cup centurions that includes South African star AB de Villiers who hit 107 not out against the West Indies and then followed it with 134 against the Netherlands in 2011.

Other players in that special group are Mark Waugh of Australia, who became the first batsman in World Cup history to make two centuries on the spin after hitting hundreds against Kenya (130) and India (126) in Mumbai.

He had already become the first cricketer to score three centuries at one World Cup in 1996.

His fellow Aussies Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid of India, Saeed Anwar of Pakistan, Mahmudulla of Bangladesh and Martin Guptill are some of the cricketers to score back-to-back hundreds at the World Cup.

Kumar Sangakkara, the brilliant Sri Lanka cricketer, actually went a step further and became the first cricketer to score four straight hundreds at the World Cup two years ago when he scored an unbeaten 105 against Bangladesh, an unbeaten 117 against England, 104 against Australia and 124 against Scotland.

Like Taylor, he announced his retirement from representing Sri Lanka in ODI cricket after that World Cup Down Under in Australia and New Zealand after scaling heights that might never be reached.

The duo has been playing county cricket in England but it appears, for Taylor, the lure of returning home to play for his country is now weighing down heavily on him and the decision about whether to continue playing for Nottinghamshire or return into the Chevrons fold is, in his words, “tearing him apart.’’

The batsman is in the final year of his contract with Nottinghamshire and, with his family having increased two fold with the arrival of twins and the lure of coming back home becoming irresistible, Taylor reveals he has been having a pretty hard time in weighing his options.

There is a feeling that Zimbabwe Cricket is on the rise again after the Chevrons stunned the world by winning their first ODI series in Sri Lanka and then battling their hosts close in the only Test before a controversial decision swung the game in the Asian favour.

Taylor has been told by the ZC authorities that he still has a place in the Zimbabwe team, should he choose to return to international cricket, with the batsman showing that his love for his country hasn’t died a bit through the tweets he usually posts in support of his old teammates.

Now he has to decide and, according to him, it’s not been an easy phase of his life.

“It’s tearing me apart. It really is,” he told the Nottingham Post. “This feels like home to me. The only reason I would leave would boil down to family.

“It’s just my new-born twin babies. If it was just the two older lads we have then we could manage.

“It’s a different dynamic now and we’re trying to juggle that. If we can get something in place next year who knows. I came here with a long-term plan.

“It wasn’t just play for three years and then go back. There’s where we’re at right now. I love it to death here. I really do.

“I’m yet to hear from the club. It will be nice to sit down with Mick (Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell) but it’s been a very busy spell for the team in the last few weeks.”

Taylor chose to leave his family in Harare, because he doesn’t want to unsettle them from the life they are used to, while he plays for his English county side.

But now that the family has grown, from two to four kids, things have changed for the batsman who is now toying with the idea of returning home for good to be close to his family.

He has already tasted success with Nottinghamshire, averaging 53, as the county won the Royal London One Day Cup.

“Winning at Lord’s was a massive feather in the cap,” he said. “We came close in my first year here and then last year we got relegated and came up short on T20 Finals Day.

“In terms of winning, we’ve had a team where every player has contributed. We’ve seen world class cricket produced by us.’’

Newell says he is aware that Taylor has been approached by Zimbabwean cricket authorities.

“Brendan has been contacted by Zimbabwe Cricket about returning home to play there, and we appreciate his honesty in explaining that to us,” said Newell.

“I know he has really enjoyed his experience of playing for Nottinghamshire, but, equally, it will be tempting for him to play back home where he can be with his family.

“As of this moment, nothing has been decided, and the final decision is very much up to Brendan, but we obviously hope he will stay with us.

“He is a quality player, so it will come as a disappointment to someone whatever he decides, but we will totally respect his final choice.

“Either way, we know Brendan will remain committed to the Nottinghamshire cause for the rest of the summer, and he will continue to contribute valuable runs.”

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