Enock Muchinjo in Pretoria
ZIMBABWE cricketer Brendan Taylor believes he is gaining vital experience from playing club cricket in England.
y>Taylor, who joined Lancashire First Division club Sefton Park following a tour of the West Indies with Zimbabwe a few months ago, is with a Zimbabwe select side on an eight-day tour of South Africa.
The short tour is being used to prepare for a one-day international series against Bangladesh starting next week.
The Zimbabwean side play their first warm-up game against the South African Academy at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria today.
The league in Lancashire is “very competitive”, Taylor said, adding: “Everything is different there. The pitches are a lot different. The weather is different.”
His footwork, which has been a talking point of his batting technique in his young career, has undergone improvement.
“My foot movement had to adjust a bit. The wickets are slow, so you have to wait a bit longer for the ball, and you have to judge well. The ball swings a bit. It made it harder for me, but I’m happy that it helped me to judge the pitch of the ball better.”
Sefton is one of several clubs around the UK, who sign overseas professional players in an effort to improve results. Pressure on the professionals is an aspect they have to get to grips with as a result.
Taylor, to his credit, has managed to do that. His average of around 60, is the highest at the club, so far in the season. He has missed a century by a single run, being dismissed for 99 runs in one of his seven matches.
“My average is where I want it to be,” he said. “But I want to get bigger scores, not getting in and getting out. I want to convert those scores into bigger ones.”
The 20-year-old wicketkeeper/ batsman also dons the big gloves at the club. Former Zimbabwe international leg spinner Paul Strang is the player/coach at New Brighton Cricket Club in the same league.
Taylor also finds life in the UK enjoyable too. “They were very anxious to find out about my background,” he said. “The people are very sociable and easy going. The interest for cricket is bigger than you can imagine considering football is the biggest sport in England.”
Taylor will miss four games for his club at the time he will be playing in South Africa, and for the national team against Bangladesh.
He says of the Bangladesh matches: “It’s going to be an even contest. Bangladesh have shown to be a side improving all the time. They have kept their players, while we keep introducing youngsters. They do have a few players who stand out. It’s just that they are a different side away from home where conditions are different. That is where it could work in our favour.”
The Zimbabwean side had nets practice soon after arriving here on Wednesday, and yesterday. They had a chance to use bowling machines at the HPC, a world-class facility incorporating almost all sporting disciplines. The SA Academy is based there.