Zimbabwe: Darker Side of Brendan Taylor Exposed

Senior Sports Reporter

THE statement by ex-Zimbabwe cricket team captain Brendan Taylor may not have told the whole story of how the retired cricketer got himself entangled in the evil web of drugs and match-fixing.

The recently retired wicketkeeper/batsman confessed to being “trapped” by Indian bookmakers into partaking in the illegal use of cocaine and manipulating cricket matches in return for cash.

The disclosure has left the cricket world dumbfounded. The International Cricket Council are yet to make a statement on the investigations that have been taking place in the last few months.

But close sources yesterday said the pre-emptive move by Taylor was well calculated to cover up the gravity of his misdemeanour’s, and by doing so, he was not being honest and was a bad example to the young generation.

The fact that he took too long to approach the International Cricket Council has also fuelled the suspicions about his culpability.

The former Zimbabwe cricketer faces a certain ban for his admission to taking cocaine and also his involvement with Indian bookmakers who had recruited him to fix cricket matches.

“The statement was calculated to minimise the damage because this guy is facing serious allegations. He has long seen it coming and by announcing that hasty retirement and also by seemingly owning up to his shenanigans, it means further investigations by the ICC may not be necessary.

“If the investigations had continued, many filthier things could have been exposed and it could have been more damaging on his part. So this move was well calculated to minimise the damage.

“He will obviously get away with a lighter sentence than what he actually deserved. It’s all up to the ICC,” said the source.

Taylor announced surprise retirement late last year during the Chevrons’ tour of Ireland, bringing to an end his 17-year-long career in which he played 34 Tests, 204 ODIs and 45 T20Is.

He claimed in his statement on Tweeter that he was tricked into substance abuse by Indian bookmakers who also wanted him to manipulate matches in return for cash in 2019.

But a simple check on his records shows Taylor had a weakness with alcohol and booze binging. In 2015, while playing in England, police were called after he was found asleep in someone’s car after a night of celebrations of his side Nottinghamshire’s Royal London Cup victory in a cricket match.

In his own admission in the four-page statement, the drugs were also beginning to take toll on his physical and mental health. Taylor failed a drugs test during the team’s tour of Ireland last year, shortly before his retirement.

The 35-year-old batsman said he was invited by an Indian businessman on October 2019 to “discuss sponsorship and a possible launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe” and investing in a cricket academy.

He was promised US$15 000 for the trip. He was entertained for three days by the men who then threw a farewell party on the final evening which featured alcohol and cocaine.

Taylor said he “foolishly took the bait” and next morning faced a dilemma after his new associates stormed his New Delhi hotel room and showed him a video footage of the shenanigans.

The mysterious men threatened to make it public if he did not cooperate in the spot-fixing of cricket matches.

Taylor was handed the agreed fee and told to consider it a deposit, with the rest of US$20 000 to be paid once the “job” was complete.

“The guys at ZC had long suspected that something fishy was going on. I think you all remember the incident when he foolishly knocked off the bails in Bangladesh and cheaply gave away the wicket? These things must have been going on for some time.

“The dent on Zimbabwe Cricket is getting bigger. Just recently it was (retired former Zimbabwe captain) Heath Streak who was banned by the ICC. I don’t know whether it is a coincidence or not but there seems to be some guys that are determined to make sure that cricket in Zimbabwe does not succeed and they do this by selling games,” said the same source.

Taylor faces severe sanctions from the ICC for admitting to the vices.

Zimbabwe Cricket yesterday said they were aware of the ongoing investigations into the allegations of breaching the ICC anti-corruption code by the former national team captain.

ZC chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, referred all questions to spokesperson Darlington Majonga, who released a statement that said the association was aware of the investigations and will not comment further until the ICC process was completed.

“Zimbabwe Cricket has become aware of a statement believed to have been released by former Zimbabwe international cricket player Brendan Taylor in which he allegedly owns up to receiving a bribe to spot-fix international matches as well as abusing a banned drug.

“We can confirm the International Cricket Council has been investigating Taylor in relation to anti-corruption breaches. However, until the ICC has completed its processes and released its findings, ZC will not be making any further comment on the matter,” said Majonga.

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