Tatenda Taibu interview November 30, 2005

'I would be glad to come back and play'

Tatenda Taibu spoke to Martin Williamson about his decision to quit playing for and captaining Zimbabwe, the threats made against his family, and his future plans

Tatenda Taibu spoke to Martin Williamson about his decision to quit playing for and captaining Zimbabwe, the threats made against his family, and his future plans



Tatenda Taibu: 'My standing up would have an impact since I am black' © Getty Images

Why exactly do you think that Peter Chingoka [the Zimbabwe Cricket chairman] and Ozias Bvute [the MD] should stand down?
Because they are trying to bring in people like Themba Mliswa [the man who made the threats against Taibu] and Tavengwa Mukuhlani [another hardliner] onto the board, and we all understand that they are wrong for Zimbabwe Cricket. There are also other aspects that people will get to understand when they are exposed.

If Bvute and Chingoka go, who will replace them and is there fear that it will be more of the same?
It will be up to the board to decide, but I think the most important thing to do is to tighten the system so that anyone who comes can't mess with it. If the main two go, however, then Mliswa and Mukuhlani will not be entertained.

Clearly you took the threat from Mliswa seriously. Was it personal and did it prompt your decision to quit?
I took it personally, but talking to a few people I found out that's the way he is. I still would have resigned. I had already made up my mind because of the way cricket is being run in this country, but Mliswa's threat helped me to do so.

How much support have you and the other players received since you spoke out?
I am really proud of the decision made by my team-mates, such decisions are not made by cowards and it shows that there is team spirit. I met with Gideon Gono, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and he understands the situation and I believe he will do something really special. I am not allowed to say much, but all I can say is that I have faith that he will do something.

In September, the players issued a statement referring to ZC as being "at best incompetent, and at worst, a bully". Those were strong words. What caused you to finally speak out?
Because they were lying to people that it was all racial, and my standing up would have an impact since I am black.



'Some players who left are willing to come back if Bvute and Chingoka leave. I would be glad to come back and play' © Getty Images

Internationally, your stand has attracted considerable support and done more to highlight the plight of Zimbabwe cricket. Was that your intention?
Yes, because it's very important for some big people to come in ... for example, the ICC. But I can't say I'm disappointed they haven't because I don't really know what has to happen for them to do so. They obviously have some procedure to follow.

There have been reports from touring sides that this dispute has affected Zimbabwe's performances for some time. Is this right?
Yes, it's true. When we play against Ricky Ponting he's not worried about his contract, is he?

As captain, have you been involved in all aspects of selection and playing policy?
When Phil [Simmons] was the coach yes, but not under Kevin Curran.

Why did the players decide to back Simmons after his dismissal?
The decision to sack him wasn't a board decision and we still feel that he's the man to bring Zimbabwe forward. The players clearly prefer Phil because he always sticks with them.

How long do you think it will take for Zimbabwe cricket to recover from the last two or three years?
Not long, if the right people are put in place because some players who left are willing to come back if Bvute and Chingoka leave. I would be glad to come back and play.

As a young man yourself, do you see enough skill in the emerging players inside Zimbabwe to enable your side to compete on the international stage?
Yes I do. It's only that my bowlers got injured and my batsmen need to get experience. Remember, you reach your prime as a batsman at 27.

Have recent results had a detrimental affect on the way cricket is regarded inside Zimbabwe?
The supporters have been backing us up because they know the team is still young and will have much to offer when they grow.

Would you support a temporary suspension of Zimbabwe's international status to allow the game to rebuild on your own terms?
Not at all. The players need experience and you only get it when you play

Where do you see Zimbabwe cricket being in five years time?
If the right people are put in place I can assure you that we won't be ninth because we will have climbed the Test Championship ladder. If the stand-off continues, I am afraid to say there will be no cricket to talk about in this country, we all know that it will die, so that effectively means we won't be able to field a team in the West Indies. Maybe Chingoka will open the bowling and Bvute will open the batting against West Indies next May!

And what next for you? There have been rumours you will leave Zimbabwe for good.
I have already been offered a contract to play club cricket for a club in Dhaka. I don't know the name of the club yet but I am supposed to leave next Sunday. But I love my country and the only time I will leave is when I am going to play cricket.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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