July 12, 2012

Zimbabwe cricket

Meeting Tatenda Taibu

Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Tatenda Taibu cuts during his half-century, New Zealand v Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI, Whangarei, February 6, 2012
Tatenda Taibu hoped to steal some fans from football to cricket with his performances  © Getty Images
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News from Zimbabwe about Tatenda Taibu's decision to quit cricket for the church took me back to my only meeting with the man ahead of last year's 50-over World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

At an open session organised for the media in Chennai, Taibu came across as an engaging young man. He had a ready smile, sparkling eyes, and stories to tell. He laughed when he was told that his life had been quite a journey, starting as he did as an international cricketer at 18. "Yeah, as I tell them in the dressing room, 'take care of the old man, guys'," Taibu, 27 at that time, said, prompting laughter all around.

When talk veered to his family, the wicketkeeper-batsman said he had two sons: the elder, unimaginatively named Tatenda Junior, was "um, seven" at the time. The younger, only a few months old in February 2011, is called Gershom. Now, "if you know your Bible," said Taibu, Gershom means a stranger in a strange land, a name Moses had given his first-born son.

What struck me then was that Taibu himself had been a stranger in strange lands for quite some time after quitting the Zimbabwean set-up in 2005, plying his trade in Namibia and at one point declaring his intention to qualify for South Africa. But in 2011, after yet another comeback to the Zimbabwe team, Taibu appeared settled in his role as he hoped to "steal some fans from soccer to cricket" with a big performance in the World Cup. Now we know it was only a temporary refuge.

Keywords: Tributes

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Bones on (July 17, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

What I liked about your article is that it's crisp and precise. You have not typed 1000 words about what Taibu should have done or how his future is now going to shape up. Thumbs up!!!

I have only watched Taibu play once. This was in August 2007 when Zimbabwe had hosted South Africa for a three-day series. It was the final match and Taibu scored an unbeaten 107. It was not only his career best but also the first ever century scored by a Zimbabwean against South Africa. Everyone talks about records being broken, what about records being made?!?

Posted by Anu on (July 17, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

Some lose their soul to the devil; Taibu seems to have lost his to the church.

Posted by Atuk Bhutia on (July 17, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

Brief but interesting insight about Taibu. From eighteen to twenty-nine, Zimbabwe to South Africa, and cricket to church, guess Taibu will always keep the scorecard ticking.

Posted by Ruwan on (July 15, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

Taibu , the little dynamite from Zimbabwe. You are a great in the game. We salute you and God bless you !!

Posted by Chanakya Das on (July 13, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

A crisp and nicely written article!! Loved the bit about his family and how his sons were christened. I felt it added a personal touch to the interview. Too bad that he decided to hung his boots this soon as Zimbabwean cricket is in dire straits for over a decade now and needed him to guide them. I guess, that's not gonna happen now!!

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