The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Masakadza Deserved to Win - Taylor

Zimbabwe cricket team captain Brendan Taylor, who won three awards on Saturday at the Zimbabwe Cricket awards function in Harare, feels his teammate Hamilton Masakadza deserved to win the Cricketer of the Year Award this season. Speaking after bagging the Batsman of the Year, People's Choice Award and the Cricketer of the Year award, which he also won last season, Taylor felt this could have been Masakadza's year.

Last year, the Zimbabwe skipper won the Cricketer of the Year award after a fantastic season in all the three formats of the game in which Zimbabwe won a Test match and an ODI series.

But this season, in the backdrop of miserable performances by the majority of the Zimbabwe players in the period under review, Taylor believes there was nothing to separate him and Masakadza.

Taylor did well in Test cricket where he achieved a milestone with his back-to-back One Day International centuries (128 and 107, both unbeaten) and another 75 runs against New Zealand.

In six innings against New Zealand at home and away, Taylor struck two ODI centuries and three half tons at an incredible average of 109.25 to amass 437 runs.

Masakadza also had a blistering form on the domestic front, especially in the Twenty20 matches where he managed 141 from four innings with a high score of 62.

"I feel shocked really. I feel there's a lot of other guys in the team who could have got the award and I genuinely sympathies with my good friend and teammate Hamilton Masakadza.

"He had a spectacular season throughout the year, domestic wise and internationally. But I have shared a bit of that success with my rewards tonight with him because in my heart he deserved it. I just feel maybe there should have been no award because I didn't play a lot of cricket but a guy like Hamilton has been in blind form and I feel for him not to get it. I did feel for him. I feel very lucky tonight but fortunately I have got a good bunch of guys in the team and without them none of this would be possible

"This year we haven't played a lot of cricket, but last year was a great year for me but I still want to climb up the ladder and become a better player, there is room for improvement. But I just want to focus on the team's success at the moment. As a team we just want to keep on getting better and show the world that we are good," said Taylor.

The Zimbabwe skipper, said he is now focusing on next season's tough schedule.

"Next year would be a busy schedule for us and that's all we need. We need to be touring, we need to be playing top teams a lot more often if we want to keep getting better.

"As an individual, I am not too worried about that. I will just try and work hard as much as I can. We have a great work ethic in the team as a team. We just keep trying and work from the basics and we have a chance to show the world that we are capable of becoming a good cricketing team.

"We need to tour more often and it's new to most of the guys. We should perform a lot better when we tour, but some of the players are new and have to start at character building.

"Two years ago in the West Indies I was part of the tour, we started the tour well with a T20 win and an ODI win but lost the series 4-1 but have matured a lot better since then and we are a much a better unit.

"It is a good opportunity for the lads and I have no doubt that we are going to prepare well, go there with clear minds and a goal to win," said Taylor.

Taylor added that right now he is more focused on Zimbabwe cricket as the leader and would want to see more young players coming up.

"Premier League is coming around again and it is the opportunity to do well. But my main goal at the moment is focusing on Zimbabwe cricket that's my passion and if we can succeed there as a team, hopefully we can open more doors for other players," said Taylor.

Richard Muzhange, who was also crowned the Rookie of the Year on Saturday night, was also happy to win the accolade. He was also part of the T20 World Cup squad that went to Sri Lanka. "It's an amazing feeling and to be honest, I didn't expect myself to be in this position. Playing at the World Cup has also improved my cricket and I have matured. I am looking forward to get into the ODIs for the national team," said Muzhange.

The Female Cricketer of the Year award was won by 15-year-old Mid-West Rhinos all rounder Josephine Nkomo, who had an outstanding performance this season, especially during the Botswana tour.

"I am so excited. I looked at my performance and knew I was outstanding. I am looking forward to score many centuries in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in December and hope that our team wins," she said.

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