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Zim player base too small for specialist T20 squad

Zimbabwe cricket team captain Brendan Taylor believes the country’s player base is too small to have a specialist T20 with a different set of players.

Munyaradzi Madzokere

This comes in the wake of Zimbabwe’s disappointing first round exit at the ongoing T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

Drawn in Group B alongside Ireland, Netherlands and United Arab Emirates, Andy Waller’s men were expected to win the group and progress to the Super 10 stage, but were surprisingly dumped out on net run rate by Netherlands.

Over the years the country has used the same set of players in all three cricket formats.

Players such as Sikandar Razza Butt, Vusi Sibanda and Malcom Waller that are more suited for the longer version of the game, constantly featured in the below par T20 world cup campaign, raising questions on Zimbabwe’s capacity to assemble a specialist T20 squad.

In an interview with Standardsport, Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor argued that the country’s first class player base was quite limited.

“Look, we all know where world T20 cricket is going and it would be good to have a specialist squad with a different set of players but at the moment our first class player base is pretty small for us to have strong separate teams.

“We are in an environment where we have maybe 50-60 first class players, some of whom really do not meet first class standards.In the end we are bound to have the same players in the squad,” he said.

“What we need to do is to develop a lot of young players and bring them into first class cricket. It is sad to note that from the Under-19 World Cup squad only two or three are playing first class cricket, which is something we need to fix,” added Taylor.

The Zimbabwe captain, who had a fairly good performance in Bangladesh, refused to ultimately blame the two and a half month long player strike for the Bangladesh performance.

“I don’t think we failed because of the strike. We are professional cricketers. We know what to do when we are not playing competitively. I think we were good enough to win our group in Bangladesh, save for the basic errors that we made.

“We are a far much better side than Ireland and Netherland but in T20, you just have to respect every team because anything can happen,” he said.

Taylor affirmed that Zimbabwe’s franchise cricket structure is adequate to nurture and develop top notch all round cricketers although there is need to arrange more games and competitions.

Zimbabwe’s next international assignment is likely going to be the triangular ODI series against South Africa and Australia at home come August, followed by single Test and three ODIs versus South Africa.

For Brendan Taylor, attention shifts to franchise cricket where he seeks to inspire Midwest Rhinos to a maiden local franchise cricket silverware in either Logan Cup or Pro50s.

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