Brendan Taylor: 30s and 40s won’t win you games, getting hundreds in the key

Zimbabwe face Ireland in a crucial Pool B match in Hobart on Saturday. Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigambura is set to miss the match due to an injury. Wicket-keeper batsman Brendan Taylor will lead the side in Chigambura’s absence. A day before the match, Taylor spoke to the media. (ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Full coverage)

Q: How’s it looking for tomorrow’s match?
Brendan Taylor (BT): As good as it possibly can be. Preparation has been excellent again, facilities have been brilliant. So, yeah, just fortunately optimism is up, and everyone’s excited. Regis Chakabva comes in for Elton Chigambura.

Q: Is that the only change?
BT: That is the only change.

Q: Facing Ireland you probably don’t have great memories from a couple World Cups ago, the tie.
BT: We certainly targeted this game. We’re not taking them lightly. They’re a quality side when the game gets going. So unfortunately it’s not St Patrick’s Day as well. So, yeah, we’ve been playing some good cricket. 80% of the games we’ve been playing winning cricket and probably just letting it slip that other 20%. So if we can just sort of narrow that gap a bit, we’re going to be a lot more consistent and get on the line more often.

Q: Is the tournament and the quarterfinals on the line with this match?
BT: Absolutely. It’s a crunch game for us, and it is for them too. So we need to win this and try to push for India as well. But we’re just not looking too far ahead. We’re just focused on tomorrow, and hopefully the result will take care of itself.

Q: You’ve been training this morning, Brendan. What can you tell us about the pitch and the grounds in general?
BT: According to the grounds-men, there will be a bit of carry, a bit of pace and bounce. The square boundaries are quite short, so I’m sure players will pick up on that quickly and sort of tie the area. But generally it’s a high scoring ground, so that should make for an entertaining game of cricket.

Q: So you guys have had a few losses now. Pretty demoralising against the West Indies. What is the mood like in camp going into this game?
BT: It’s surprisingly upbeat. We know we need to win this game. We need a good performance. All three departments, we need to get that right. If we do that, there is no reason why we won’t win convincingly. But they’re a good side. We’re very much aware of that, but there’s been times where we’ve batted and we haven’t batted our 50 overs and that’s hurt us.

Even though we’ve gotten 270, 280, and 290. The more demoralising one was Pakistan not getting over the line at 230. 30s and 40s aren’t going to win us games. We need to carry on, kick on, and get that hundred. So that is the focus.

Q: What can you tell us about recovery time? What is Elton Chigambura’s return looking like? Can you tell us a little bit of how much of a hole his absence will mean for this match?
BT: From what I understand, he has a grade 3 tear. I don’t understand in terms of how long that will put him out. I know he’s working day and night with the physio trying to get him ready for the India game. So I have a few positive thoughts from that perspective. He’s been a player that’s been very crucial for us at the end of the innings. He’s very experienced. He’s got some great striking ability in terms of hitting boundaries, so he’s a big loss there. But we’ve got to hit with the batters that are batting tomorrow. So I’m confident in what we have is good enough to post a winning total and chase anything down.

Q: Will you guys be happy to bat or bowl first tomorrow? You’ve chased down some pretty good scores so far.
BT: That does pose a little challenge, in terms of, I don’t know if the weather will hold off tomorrow. If we’re here, it might be a slightly better day. I think runs on the board is always key. It’s a must-win game. We feel we’re a good chasing side. I can’t tell you what we want to do. Tomorrow I’ll get together with the coach and see what they’re comfortable in doing, so I’m not too worried about it.

Q: How much pressure is there for you?
BT: Every game is pressure. If you are in a World Cup, you want to win everything. You want to be competitive at least. I think they’re going to feel a lot of pressure, as they also need to win this game. It’s just another game of cricket. So we need to focus on the small passages of play, and make sure we’re not looking too far ahead, and if we’re taking care of the situation or the game at that moment in time, we’re in good stead to finish well.

Q: What do you remember of that tie from 2007? It was very unfortunate.
BT: Yeah, I remember that very well. I think there was a time where they should have won the game. I think we hit the ball just over Trent Johnson’s head and he missed a chance there.

There was a chance for Ireland to win, and there was a chance for us to win. But we played them twice on St. Patrick’s Day in T20 and 50 over World Cup, so it’s a new day. We’ll both be up for it and both excited to play tonight.

Q: So Sean Williams and Craig Ervine are doing quite well. Any of the other batsmen doing well or is there room for improvement?
BT: There certainly is room for improvement. The guys have got in and got out. I think we’ve not been ruthless enough in terms of kicking on as batters, so we’re all aware of that. We keep emphasising the fact of the importance of one of the top four batting through and getting 130, 140, so that puts you in a winning position, and we haven’t been able to do that. Guys have gotten bits and pieces. So getting out at crucial times and not batting at 50 overs, so those are the main areas that we’ve discussed.

Q: Give us an idea of the feeling in the camp?
BT: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, that’s non-negotiable for us. We want to turn up tomorrow and we want to win. We want to win convincingly and we feel we’re good enough to do that. Dave Whatmore has brought a very calming influence to the team and an enjoyable environment. It’s been a pleasure to play with him, and the guys are thoroughly enjoying his presence and we’re enjoying each other’s company.

So I think those are all important aspects for some success. We certainly will head in the right direction.

Courtesy: ICC