Brendan Taylor is likely to wear the Zimbabwe jersey for the last time on Saturday (March 14), when the team takes on India in their last Pool B game of the 2015 World Cup.
Taylor has signed a three-year Kolpak deal with Nottinghamshire – he was offered the contract last year – though the terms would only be finalised after Zimbabwe’s campaign ends. The agreement, subject to approval from the England and Wales Cricket Board, essentially means that the 29-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman would be ineligible to play for Zimbabwe while the contract is in effect.
Taylor did not base his decision on the possibility of a better payday, as his Nottinghamshire contract is worth £ 85,000 per year, which is not dramatically more than the US$ 120,000 per year he gets from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC). Indeed, ZC have done their best to prevent Taylor from leaving, keeping him on a monthly retainership of US$ 10,000 while other senior players get a maximum of US$ 6000 per month.
However, Taylor, who has a nine-month old son, felt that the security of a three-year contract would help keeping in mind the future of his young family.
Taylor has always expressed his desire to as much international cricket as possible, but the lack of fixtures for Zimbabwe in the immediate future means he doesn’t know how many opportunities he is likely to get at the biggest stage.
As for the World Cup, Zimbabwe have failed to qualify for the quarterfinals, having only notched up one win – against UAE – but Taylor has been impressive with the bat. He has scored 295 runs in five games at 59.00 and his hundred against Ireland – his seventh in One-Day Internationals – drew him level with Alistair Campbell for most centuries by a Zimbabwe batsman in the format.
His overall performance for Zimbabwe may not be fantastic, but given the political and economical upheavals in Zimbabwe cricket, his contribution has been remarkable. He has 5120 runs in 166 ODIs with 32 fifties and seven hundreds. In Tests, he has 1493 runs, with four centuries, in 23 appearances.
Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket, said Taylor would bolster the club after injuries to Michael Lumb and Jake Libby and the possibility of James Taylor and Alex Hales being on international duty. “Ahead of the upcoming season, we have found ourselves with two batsmen injured and face the potential loss of players to international commitments,” said Newell on Wednesday. “We have decided to strengthen our batting order with Brendan, a proven player who will be an excellent addition to the side.”
Taylor has intimated his decision to the Zimbabwe team management. “It is true we will miss Brendan, who is going to Nottingham, and they are very, very lucky to have him,” said Dav Whatmore, the team coach, on Thursday. “Despite that, we feel we have got a number of players who make this team really strong in terms of what they offer.”