ZC

The last time Brendan Taylor played a limited-overs match for Zimbabwe, he scored a massive 138 runs versus India in an ICC Cricket World Cup fixture played in Auckland on 14 March, 2015. Although Zimbabwe lost that match by six wickets, with that knock – which came off 110 balls and included 15 boundaries and five maximums – Taylor had bowed out of international cricket in style and in the process cemented his place among the game’s top players. Now, nearly three years later or, to be specific, 1 039 days or 24 936 hours since that bitter-sweet day, he is back in the national reds and will mark his return to one-day international (ODI) cricket when Zimbabwe face Bangladesh on Monday in the opening match of the triangular series in Dhaka which also involves Sri Lanka.

Since he resumed international cricket with Zimbabwe last October, the 31-year-old batsman has played three Tests including the historic Boxing Day game against South Africa and is now looking forward to some ODI action. “First and foremost, it’s really great to be back in this format. Obviously, I have had a bit of time with the squad and it’s been enjoyable,” Taylor said. ”The South Africa tour was a challenging one but we have moved on from that. In the white-ball format, we are a lot more dominant . . . so it’s an exciting time considering we have had some success in Asia recently.”

Zimbabwe recorded an historic 3-2 series win in Sri Lanka in July last year, but they have not played an ODI since then.”For me personally, it’s about enjoying being back and trying to offer as much as I can and trying to get a good start,” Taylor said.”There’s always expectations but that’s the responsibility we have as professional cricket players. It comes with the duties and it’s a nice responsibility, trying to lead from the front. We have guys who have played a lot of cricket now in the side and everyone will be willing to put their hand up.”

Apart from Taylor, pace bowler Kyle Jarvis will also be involved with the ODI side for the first time since returning to the international set-up. Both players were released from their English county contracts with Nottinghamshire and Lancashire respectively in September 2017 in order to rekindle their international careers with Zimbabwe. For Jarvis, this will be his first ODI since August 2013. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe head coach Heath Streak believes his side are the underdogs for the tri-series against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Although the historic series win in Sri Lanka should boost Zimbabwe’s confidence, the coach believes his side still have a long way to go.”I think we still have a long way to go – we are the underdogs in this series,” Streak said.”But I still feel that we have got the quality of players we need to take Zimbabwe cricket forward. We showed against Sri Lanka last year that we can compete against other countries outside our home territory. It was very pleasing but we have a long way to go as a team.”

After playing Bangladesh in the first match this Monday, Streak’s charges will face Sri Lanka on Wednesday. On 21 January, Zimbabwe will take on Sri Lanka again, have a day’s rest and then entertain Bangladesh for the second time. The tri-series final is scheduled for 27 January.

All matches will be day-night games and will be played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.