Taylor favourite for top gong

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National cricket captain Brendan Taylor could walk away with the game’s top gongs at this year’s awards ceremony tomorrow night, in a year he could not have been particularly pleased with.

Report by Kevin Mapasure

Zimbabwe Cricket will unveil a revamped format for the awards after moving away from the idea of one title sponsor for the awards to include several of its partners.

While last year Taylor was an overwhelming favourite after heroics in all three formats of the game, which also saw Zimbabwe winning a Test match and an ODI series, this year very little separates him and his competitors and there is little to celebrate.

This year only one Test century was recorded from four innings in addition to six half centuries. In those innings there were hardly any stand-out performers with Zimbabwe losing both Tests to New Zealand.

On the bowling side there was not much to applaud either, with 23 wickets taken in Tests, Kyle Jarvis claiming seven of them.

Jarvis has since emerged the favourite for the Bowler of the Year award and could also challenge Taylor for the Cricketer of the Year.

Jarvis and Taylor also won berths to play in New Zealand and Sri Lanka respectively after showing form in Zimbabwe colours.

With Zimbabwe firmly back in the Test arena, the winners of the top awards should have performed in the premier format of the game.

Vusi Sibanda managed a high score of 93 and little else in that format, while Malcolm Waller also hit an unbeaten 72 along the way but that may not be enough for any of them to win either the Batsman of the Year or the Cricketer of the Year awards.

Test opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza failed to perform at top level but did well in the T-20 format where he managed 141 from four innings with a high score of 62.

With a Test average of 44,5 added to two ODI half tonnes at an average of 42,33 as well as a 75 not out in T-20, Taylor has got the better figures in an otherwise uninspiring performance by the team.

Zimbabwe failed to resolve their travel troubles and lost all matches in New Zealand earlier this season, which they capped with another woeful display at the recent T-20 World cup in Sri Lanka.

Zimbabwe Cricket media manager Shingai Rhuhwaya said the awards ceremony had been changed to improve player involvement.

“The format has been changed,” said Rhuhwaya. “In previous years we had a large event with one title sponsor but this year we acknowledge we have had many partners, so we want to involve all of them.

“We will have more of a cocktail event so that our corporate partners can have an opportunity to meet and network with the players. We have different sponsors for different awards which we will only reveal at the ceremony.”

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