Brendan Taylor Biography
To read a history of cricket in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, please visit the history page.
Brendan Ross Murray Taylor was born on the 6th of February, 1986 in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. His First-Class career began for Mashonaland A in Zimbabwe's Castle Lager Logan Cup competition in 2001/02. He was impressive in his first season, scoring 322 runs at 32.20, with a top score of 82.
Subsequent seasons were not nearly as impressive though, averaging 22.50 in 2002/03 and 26.75 in 2003/04. After averaging 29.63 in 8 First-Class matches, Taylor made his List A limited overs debut for Mashonaland in 2003/04. After 6 matches, he scored 43 runs at a disappointing average of 8.60. Behind the stumps, his figures were more impressive, completing 2 stumpings and 5 catches.
Little under 3 years in the domestic circuit, Taylor was called upon to represent the Zimbabwean national team in a One Day International against Sri Lanka at Bulawayo. He was clean bowled by Chaminda Vaas for a 5-ball duck. His premature entry into the national team was not a result of outstanding performances at domestic level, but rather a player strike which saw many of Zimbabwe's leading players leave the game.
After several low scores and one start (0,2,4,38) in the series against Sri Lanka, in the final match Taylor top scored with 74, including 5 fours and 3 sixes. At the conclusion of the ODI series, he was Zimbabwe's second best batsman (118 runs at 23.60), only behind Tatenda Taibu (169 at 42.25).
He retained his place in the team for the subsequent Test series, and scored 89 runs at the modest average of 22.25. Promising though, was his maiden half-century, worth 61 runs.
Since 2004, Taylor has gone from strength to strength. While there have been some concerns over his off-field behavior and his level of commitment, at 21 years of age he still has at least 15 years of cricket ahead of him.
The 2004/05 season was a huge turning point for the young wicket keeper batsman. In September of 2004, Taylor scored his maiden First-Class century on the tour of Pakistan. His 141 got the Zimbabweans to a respectable score of 324 against a Patrons XI. 2 months later he smashed 166 at better than a run-a-ball for Mashonaland against Midlands in the Logan Cup.
On the tour of Bangladesh in January, he scored his highest Test score; 78 from 135 balls in the 2nd Test. To this day, 78 is Taylor's highest Test score.
Returning to Zimbabwe, he continued his fine Logan Cup form with a 193 run performance against Matebeleland, followed by a 105 run effort against the Midlands. Taylor was the Logan Cup's leading run-scorer in 2004/05, accumulating 642 runs at 64.20.
His domestic limited overs form was still below par though, scoring just 66 runs at 22.00 in 3 matches.
In June 2005, it was reported by Cricinfo that Brendan Taylor had been banned from international cricket for 9 months by Zimbabwe Cricket. This was supposedly for missing training twice without good reason, but it was believed that he had also been out clubbing all night in Johannesburg just over a day before a Test match against South Africa several months earlier.
2 months later, he was playing for Zimbabwe against New Zealand in the 1st Test. Clearly, the selectors couldn't afford to drop their most promising talent because of a few minor off-field discretions.
It wasn't until the 2nd Test that he showed his class at Test level, scoring 77 from 129 deliveries, missing out on a new individual highest score by 2 runs.
After heavy Test losses to New Zealand and India, retirements of key players such as Heath Streak and Stuart Carlisle, and the disappearance of Gavin Ewing, Andy Blignaut and Tatenda Taibu from the Zimbabwean cricket scene, Zimbabwe saved themselves from further humiliation, and imposed an indefinite suspension from Test cricket upon themselves.
The team started 2006 in the correct fashion, with a convincing 8 wicket win over Kenya. There were many new faces in the team, 4 debutants infact, but it was Brendan Taylor who guided the team to victory. He was Zimbabwe's top scorer with 60*.
After the first match, Taylor made several starts, including 33 and 40, but never made that big score he was looking for. Zimbabwe drew the series 2-2 with Kenya, but would have been looking for a more convincing result.
In the West Indies between April and May, Taylor who averaged 27.00, had an average series. His highest score was 43, but he was Zimbabwe's second highest run-scorer with 135 runs. Chamu Chibhabha scored 162 runs at 54.00, and was the pick of the batsmen, with 2 scores in excess of 50.
After the series against the West Indies, Zimbabwe had another Caribbean assignment, 3 ODI's against Bermuda (2) and Canada (1). Taylor scored 37 against Canada, but against Bermuda, made 98 before being bowled. 98 is Taylor's highest ODI score, and he made this off just 75 deliveries. Taylor finished the series well, with a quickfire 55.
Zimbabwe's next series was against Bangladesh, in mid 2006. For Brendan Taylor, this is one series he will never want to forget. After getting off to reasonable starts in the first 2 ODI's, Taylor came to the crease at 2/84, Zimbabwe chasing 237. Wickets fell at regular intervals, and at 7/151 after 38.5 overs, Zimbabwe needed over 80 runs to win, with Taylor the last remaining recognised batsman, on 30*.
10 overs later, Tawanda Mupariwa and Brendan Taylor were still together at the crease, requiring 17 runs from 6 balls. Mupariwa gave Taylor the strike with the first delivery. Taylor followed that up with a 6 over square leg. The next ball went for no run, while the following ball was given wide. Needing 9 runs from 3 balls, Taylor smashed a 4. Then the unimaginable happened, a run out. Luckily for Zimbabwe, it was not Taylor who departed. But Mupariwa injured himself when attempting the run, making the situation all the more tense for Taylor, who needed to hit a 6 from the final ball from Mashrafe Mortaza.
As cool as you like, Taylor hit the winning runs, with a 6 over mid-wicket. He ended on 79*, in a game he single handedly won for Zimbabwe.
At the series end, which Zimbabwe won 3-2 against the odds, Brendan Taylor managed to come second, again, in terms of leading run-scorers for Zimbabwe. He made 169 runs at 56.33, with his 79* being his solitary half-century.
Zimbabwe's next tour, was of South Africa. Only 4 matches long, it gave both sides preparation for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.
In their inaugural Twenty20 outing, against domestic side, the Eagles, Zimbabwe managed just 103 all out. 25 of those runs came from the bat of Brendan Taylor, at better than a run a ball. He was decent enough behind the stumps though, with a catch and a stumping in the 1st ODI, and 2 stumpings in the final ODI. 9, 5 and 19 was all he could manage with the bat.
In the Champions Trophy, Taylor made 7, 30 and a defiant 52 in the final match against Bangladesh. Zimbabwe lost all of their games, and did not progress.
The next assignment was an ODI series in Bangladesh. In the only Twenty20 International, Taylor scored just 5, unable to continue his good Twenty20 form shown against the Eagles. His 50-over performances weren't much better, with his only score of substance, 38, coming in the 1st ODI. In the 2nd, 3rd and 4th ODI's, Taylor scored 1, 1 and 4 respectively. He was controversially dropped in the 5th ODI with Tino Mawayo taking over the glovework.
Bangladesh returned to Harare in February 2007, and Taylor wasn't selected for the 1st ODI. Not needing to bat in Zimbabwe's 2nd ODI win, he made 13 in the 3rd match and 10 in the final game.
The teams next major international assignment, the ICC World Cup 2007, saw some interesting performances, by both Brendan Taylor and team Zimbabwe. In the tied match against Ireland, Zimbabwe were well on top while Taylor was at the crease. His experience proved invaluable, but he was run out in the most unfortunate circumstances; Matsikenyeri straight driving down the pitch, with McCallan, the bowler, managing to get a finger on it before hitting the stumps. He was out for 24.
Against the West Indies, Taylor made 50 before being run out. It came up in 121 deliveries, uncharactistic of his style of batting. His innings had both a single 4 and 6. Brendan Taylor's World Cup campaign ended with 13 runs against Pakistan, giving him a World Cup average of 29.00, which was respectable. His 87 combined runs was the teams third highest, behind Sean William's 95 and Stuart Matsikenyeri's 107.
In 2007, Zimbabwe's domestic competition, the Logan Cup, underwent some changes. Taylor's former domestic team, Mashonaland, was renamed Northerns with the competition taking on a new look, involving teams from 5 provinces (Northerns, Southerns, Easterns, Westerns, Centrals). Due to issues with the selection policy of the Northerns, Taylor did not play any Logan Cup matches. Reports say he was involved with a row over contracts, and withdraw at the last minute in the game against Westerns after having trained with the team.
After several months with no international cricket played involving Zimbabwe, India A visited for an A team series. Taylor wasn't available for this series, as he was playing club cricket in the Netherlands. The series did however mark the return of Tatenda Taibu, who replaced Taylor behind the stumps. Taibu marked his comeback with 123.
Taylor returned to the fold against South Africa A, but his return wasn't as flamboyant as Taibu's, managing just 2 and 13.
In the three ODI's against the full South African team, Zimbabwe played well. Without winning, they produced respectable score in all three games, Taylor included. He scored 19, 44 and 42. This series was to be Kevin Curran's last as coach of Zimbabwe.
Brendan Taylor shot to fame in the teams first Twenty20 International match against Australia in the ICC World Twenty20, which Zimbabwe won by 5 wickets. After a magnificent bowling performance to restrict the Aussies to 138, including first class wicket keeping by Taylor (stumping of Andrew Symonds and run out of Mitchell Johnson) Taylor cracked an unbeaten 60 from 45 deliveries, to win the game for Zimbabwe. With a ball to spare, he clipped the ball down to fine leg for 4 leg-byes. The finish reminiscent of his heroics against Bangladesh a year earlier. Taylor won the man of the match award, saying it was great to "finally beat quality opposition".
In the next match against England, Zimbabwe continued their good form, but despite a wonderful 47 from Taylor, again opening the innings, the batting collapsed, and the team fell 50 runs short of their 189 run target.
Taylor ended the ICC World Twenty20 with an incredible average of 107.00. As reward for his outstanding performances, he was upgraded from a Zimbabwe Cricket "C" grade contract, to an exclusive "A" grade contract, which sees him on par with the likes of Tatenda Taibu.
After an indifferent series against Sri Lanka A, where Taylor's only significant performance was a half-century and a stumping in a 50-over match, Taylor opened the batting with Vusi Sibanda against the South African Composite XI in Potchefstroom for the SuperSport Challenge. Taylor's first innings was cut short, out for 41, but both he and Sibanda laid solid foundations for the rest of the innings. The Zimbabweans went on to make almost 500 runs in that innings, largely thanks to Prosper Utseya's unbeaten 115 and Hamilton Masakadza's 88. In the second innings, requiring just 57 runs for victory, Brendan Taylor unleashed, smashing 35 not out from 21 balls. His knock included two massive sixes, and at one point his strike rate was 180.
Taylor propelled Zimbabwe to a very good start in the 1st ODI against West Indies in November 2007. His 30 ball 27 got Zimbabwe off to the right start, and thanks to 73 from Justice Chibhabha, 55 from Stuart Matsikenyeri and a 3 wicket haul from Elton Chigumbura, Zimbabwe went on to win the match.
That 27 turned out to be his highest score of the series, but due to an unbeaten score in one match he finished the series with 84 runs at 28.00.
Zimbabwe's next assignment came in the form of an overseas tour to Pakistan. Zimbabwe performed poorly, but Zimbabwe's leading players performed credibly. Sean Williams led the way, with 192 runs at 48.00, while Tatenda Taibu (161 runs at 32.20) and Brendan Taylor (139 runs at 27.80) followed. In the First Class tour match against a Pakistan Cricket Board Patrons XI, only two players scored half centuries - Taylor, with 64, and surprisingly, Timycen Maruma, who scored a gritty 71.
Zimbabwe were fortunate enough to be invited to take part in the MTN Domestic Championship in South Africa. It was a forgettable series for both Zimbabwe and Brendan Taylor, whose highest scores were in the low 40's. In all it was a disappointing series - he missed two matches due to a hand injury - and in 10 innings, he made just 179 runs at 17.90.
His return to the Zimbabwean domestic scene was much more promising though; he was one of the standout players in the 2008 Metropolitan Bank Twenty20 tournament. Continuing his outstanding form in the shortest version of the game, Taylor ended the tournament with the highest average of any player - 84.00, and second highest amount of runs scored. In the Northerns first match against Southerns, Taylor opened the batting and scored an unbeaten 85, a knock that include 3 sixes. This was one of two half centuries Taylor scored, the other being against Centrals when he guided Northerns to victory with 6 balls remaining with an unbeaten 63.
In their efforts to help Zimbabwean cricket, South Africa also invited the team south for the Standard Bank Pro20 tournament, and after the completion of the second match - which Brendan Taylor top scored for Zimbabwe in, with 28 - Taylor had the 7th highest Twenty20 batting average of anyone in the world, with 48.28. Just 1.5 runs in batting average separated 7th place from 4th place.
Under strict orders by Zimbabwe Cricket not to travel to Europe to play club cricket, Zimbabwe's contracted players stayed home and played in the Logan Cup. Taylor was the most dominant batsman for Northerns, scoring 288 runs at 72.00 in the tournament, including an award winning 150 not out in their final fixture against Centrals. With Tatenda Taibu in India playing for Kolkata in the IPL (Indian Premier League), Taylor was the first choice wicket keeper, and took 10 catches and 4 stumpings.