Taylor faces fitness race

Zimbabwe cricketer Brendan Taylor plays a shot during the first One Day International (ODI) cricket match of the Tri-Nations Series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on January 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Munir UZ ZAMAN (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

By Kevin Mapasure

Top Zimbabwe national cricket team batsman Brendan Taylor is in danger of missing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) tour of Zimbabwe next month after he was injured in action at the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Friday evening.

Taylor has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament after he injured his calf muscle and is expected to be out of action for between four to six weeks.

Zimbabwe will clash with UAE from April 4 to 14, where the two nations will play four one-day internationals (ODI) in Harare before the Afghanistan visit, with their tour scheduled for April 16 to 29.

The home side will be returning to action for the first time since their visit to Bangladesh last year following the postponement of the India tour of Zimbabwe, which would have taken place this month.

Taylor is expected to play a key part in both series, but the injury could see him miss at least part of the UAE series.

The former Zimbabwe captain joined Sikandar Raza at the PSL, where Taylor represented Lahore Qalandars alongside ex South Africa skipper AB de Villiers and Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman, among other world stars.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has been trying to plug the gap of the national team’s inactivity and have been aided by Afghanistan who were desperate for this series as they prepare for the World Cup in England.

The two series, however, could bring back the painful memories of the team’s failure in the World Cup qualifiers last year.

Zimbabwe needed to beat UAE in their last match of the qualifiers to book a ticket to England, but the latter pulled off an upset, which opened up a window for Afghanistan, who, at the time, looked doomed in their quest to make it to the finals.

The players have expressed disappointment over the failure, which costs captain Graeme Cremer his job, while the coaches, headed by Heath Streak were also sent packing in a matter that spilled into the labour courts.

Cremer has since taken a sabbatical from cricket due to family reasons.

Now under Indian Rajput Lalchand, Zimbabwe will be looking to regroup and start building for future tournaments, and importantly start improving on their rankings.

Zimbabwe is currently ranked number 11 in the ODI category, with Afghanistan on 10, while UAE sit on number 14.

Hamilton Masakadza has retained his post as captain at least for one more season, while Peter Moor is his understudy as he is earmarked for the skippers’ post in future.

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