At 21, Tatenda Taibu is older than half the side he will captain at the Champions Trophy © Getty Images

In April, Tatenda Taibu, at the age of only 20, became the youngest captain in Test history. He took charge of Zimbabwe's national side when Heath Streak's criticism of team selection and certain selectors led to the sacking (twice) of Streak and 14 of Zimbabwe's top cricketers, and an ongoing legal dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, which has now gone to arbitration.

Taibu was put in charge of a team made up largely of players fresh from the national Under-19 squad, and led them in two tough series, against Sri Lanka and Australia. The pressure heaped on Taibu's shoulders increased after the thrashing that his young team received at the hands of Sri Lanka led to the postponement of all Zimbabwe's Tests until next year, but he is adamant that the strain has not got to him. He told BBC Sport: "I don't know pressure to be honest. I just go out there and enjoy my cricket. I love playing the game. The reason I started playing cricket at a young age was because I enjoyed it, and I hope and I feel that it is the same for the other players.

"I'm as passionate about cricket as ever," he added. "The one thing that has kept me going is the fact that the youngsters really want to play and look forward to every game. That's why I keep going. That's why I keep fighting.

"I have to have answers, because if I don't then nobody else will. I'm maturing quickly as a cricketer. I'm learning things now that I would learn at a later stage. It is a huge responsibility and I have found it very tough, but there really is no-one else to do it. I have to take it on my shoulders."

Taibu admitted: "There are mixed feelings to the cricket team in Zimbabwe. There are people who want to see us do well, and others who don't. It has nothing to do with colour, just people with their own views. It's obviously sad but I see it is a challenge to prove some people wrong and make other people happy."

Surprisingly, Taibu added that he wasn't at all shocked to be given the captaincy, and that he didn't support the rebels' boycott of the national team. "I had been in a few meetings where things weren't going well for Heath and the board," he said. "I knew Heath might resign at any time from the meetings that we had. I was half-positive he would. I didn't support the 15 players because if I did I would have joined them. I didn't join them because I love cricket, and I would play for no cost if I had to."

At the end of July, the rebel cricketers accepted the ICC's proposal for their dispute with the ZCU to be taken to arbitration, and the ICC has since appointed a two-man panel to investigate the allegations of racism that were at the root of the dispute. Even if the outcome of the arbitration were to go their way, it is unlikely that many of the rebels will return, with many of the senior players having already made other plans.

Heath Streak, when fit, enjoyed success with Warwickshire this season. Sean Ervine, a very promising allrounder, has started a new life Down Under, signing a contract with Western Australia. Grant Flower and Ray Price have moved to England to play county cricket, while Andy Blignaut spent some time in Tasmania before signing a one-month contract for Durham.

"Obviously I would like to have the players back in the side, but my job as captain is to lead whatever side given to me by the selectors," Taibu concluded. "Either way, I think things will be good. If they come back it means the team will be stronger, but if they don't then we are left with an exuberant young side who are willing to fight all the way. So I'm not really bothered. Either way, things will move forward for us."