BT’s Match Fixing Ordeal, Cocaine: What Does It Mean For Zim Cricket?

Sport Zimbabwe

Charmaine Chasweka

FORMER Zimbabwe Cricket captain Brendan Taylor’s disclosure of a match-fixing plan involvement and use of cocaine could further damage the country’s game.

Taylor, who released a statement on twitter confessing the 2019 scandal, is expected to receive a ban from the International Cricket Council based on the fact that he reported the matter late.

The scandal adds to that of another cricket great Heath Streak, who last year received an eight-year ICC ban for breaching the Council's anti-corruption code.

For Zimbabwe, the BT ordeal adds to the woes and represents what is perhaps a bigger blow given Taylor’s influence in the current generation of players.

“To end I need to let you know I am sorry for those I have hurt. I am sorry for those I have let down,” Taylor said.

“I would like to thank my family, my friends and my supporters for always being there. I have learnt the true meaning of loyalty.

“The greatest honour that can be bestowed, is to captain and represent one’s country and for this, I am eternally grateful.”

Although of late Taylor was no longer the captain, only taking over leadership in some matches, he remained one of the best things that ever happened to Zimbabwe cricket.

And this, in many ways, has eroded part of that legacy.

According to Taylor, the incident that has rocked his career was a result of blackmail by an Indian businessman.

The talented cricketer revealed that he was approached by the businessman at a time when Zimbabwe Cricket had not paid the team for six months.

“(He was) requesting that I attend India to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe and was advised that I would be paid USD15000 to make the journey.

“The discussions took place, as he had said, and on our last night in the hotel, the businessman and
his colleagues took me for a celebratory dinner.

“We had drinks and during the course of the evening they openly offered me cocaine, which they themselves engaged in, and I foolishly took the bait,” he said.

Taylor proceeded to explain how the night has since haunted his thoughts and made him have sleepless nights, each time he relieved it.

The star further stated that, the following morning the same men stormed into his hotel room and showed him a video of him the night before whilst taking cocaine and how they told him that if he did not spot fix at international matches for them, the video would be released in public.

“I was cornered and with 6 of these individuals in my hotel room, I was scared for my own safety. I was handed the USD15000 but was told this was now ‘deposit’ for spot fixing and that an additional USD20 000 would be paid once the job was complete.

“I took the money so I could get on the plane and leave India.

“When I returned home, the stress of what had taken place severely impacted my mental and physical health. I was a mess and I was diagnosed with shingles and prescribed strong anti-psychotic medication- amitriptyline,” he said.

Zimbabwe Cricket at this stage needed more positive stories for growth and this will be another unwanted dent to the game.

Cricket in the Southern African country had suffered from temporary suspension by the ICC, with two national teams missing out on world cup tournaments. The resultant delay in grants from ICC only added to the setbacks.

And then came Covid-19 which did not spare the game, with the players mostly affected.

The biggest question will be, how have all the troubles faced by Zimbabwe Cricket contributed to the players situation? How many have been compromised and how many have weathered the storm?

It’s Taylor OUT, for now. And if his story is anything to go by, Zimbabwe cricket woes may have exposed him.

The player is expecting to start rehabilitation tomorrow (Tuesday) to get himself clean.