Zimbabwe, despite all their struggles on and off the field, has been able to produce quality wicketkeeper-batters, especially in the last three decades. From Andy Flower to Tatenda Taibu and now Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe was fortunate to have leaders within their group to help them sail through the turmoil that has now lasted for decades.
Brendan Taylor made his international debut in an ODI against Sri Lanka on 20th April 2004. It was far from an auspicious start as he was bowled by Chaminda Vaas for a duck on his debut. But horrible starts don’t usually turn into a horrible career, and the way a player ends their career matters more than how they started it, and Taylor’s career is a testament to that.
Overall, Taylor scored 9938 runs and fell just 62 runs shy of reaching the 10,000 runs milestone in international cricket, a feat only achieved by the Flower brothers for Zimbabwe. Taylor finishes his career as the third-highest run-scorer for Zimbabwe, behind the Flower brothers, Andy and Grant. In ODIs, Taylor finishes as the second-highest run-scorer for Zimbabwe with 6684 runs, falling just 102 runs short of Andy Flower. With 152 dismissals as a wicketkeeper, Taylor is third on the list of most successful wicketkeepers for Zimbabwe with only Andy Flower and Taibu ahead of him.
Despite missing out on three years of international cricket due to the Kolpak deal, since January 2010, Taylor has been the leading run-scorer for Zimbabwe in Tests, ODIs and all three formats combined. Overall, no batter has scored more ODI hundreds for Zimbabwe than Taylor (11), and even across formats, he sits at the top with 17 international hundreds for his country. He is also the only Zimbabwean player to score hundreds in each innings of the Test twice.
Although Taylor finishes with numbers that can make anyone proud – he sits fourth on the list of most runs at a single venue (3503 at the Harare Sports Club), Taylor is one of only 19 wicketkeeper-batters in ODIs with more than 2000 runs and 100 dismissals – Taylor’s career is not just confined to his career statistics.
From beating Australia in the inaugural World T20 by scoring an unbeaten 60 to scoring a magnificent hundred against India in the 2015 Cricket World Cup (also his last innings before taking the Kolpak deal), to coming back with a desire to bring Zimbabwe back to where it was, Taylor has been an inspirational figure not just for the Zimbabwean cricketing fraternity but also around the world.
Brendan Taylor, the man who gave his all for Zimbabwean cricket, can fondly look back at his glorious career and be very proud of the things that he accomplished in a 17-year long career.