Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor
has revealed that the ICC is about to "impose a multi-year ban" on his international career after he allegedly delayed reporting a corrupt approach "by an Indian businessman". Taylor had met with the businessman in October 2019 after being asked "to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe".
Taylor delayed reporting that meeting in India because, he said, he wanted to protect his family. He describes substance abuse having taken place during that meeting in a statement on Twitter
, which he says led to him being allegedly blackmailed. "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." The men he had met, Taylor said, stormed into his hotel room the next day, and threatened to release video of the substance abuse unless he carried out spot-fixing for them. He was given USD 15,000 - which he said he took to flee India - and told it was a deposit for a future payment once the fix was carried out.
"It took me 4 months to report this offence and interaction to the ICC," Taylor said. "I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family. I approached the ICC on my own terms and I hoped that if I explained my predicament, my genuine fear for our safety and wellbeing, that they would understand the delay.
"Unfortunately, they did not, but I cannot feign ignorance in this regard. I have attended many anti-corruption seminars over the years and we know that time is of the essence when making reports."
Taylor also said he had "never been involved in any form of match-fixing. I may be many things but I am not a cheat. My love for the beautiful game of cricket far outweighs and surpasses any threats which could be thrown my way."
The ICC has yet to comment on Taylor's statement, and if he does - as he said - face a ban on his international cricket career, it's worth noting he does not have much of one at the moment: in September last year he retired
from international cricket, after a 17-year career.
Taylor's statement does reveal, however, some of the difficulties in playing for Zimbabwe, which led to him eventually being prescribed a strong anti-psychotic medication. He said that at the time of the incident he hadn't been paid by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) for six months "and it was questionable whether Zimbabwe would be able to continue playing in the international arena".
Another former Zimbabwe captain, Heath Streak
, was banned by the ICC
for breaches of the anti-corruption code in April 2021. Streak was coach of the side during the World Cup qualifiers in Harare in 2018 and revealed in a recent interview
with The Cricket Monthly
that the coaching team had agreed to forfeit pay during that period, hoping that if Zimbabwe qualified, the ICC prize money for doing so would enable payments to be made eventually. Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
"I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point."
Taylor revealed that he will be "checking into a rehabilitation centre" from January 25th in order to deal with the substance abuse.
"I will admit that the past two years have been incredibly challenging, both personally and professionally and it is from absolute rock bottom that I am trying to climb out of this mess I made. My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of me and it is clear to me now that I have a much bigger problem which for some time has needed addressing.
"And so, I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and to get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point. But for many weeks I will be away and trying to get better.
"l owe it to myself and to my family to get clean and to put them first. I have let a substance take control of me and impair my vision, my morals and my values and it is time that I prioritise what really matters."
Taylor captained Zimbabwe in 71 games between 2011 and 2021 across the three formats. He was full-time captain between mid-2011 and mid 2014, before Zimbabwe went the split captaincy route and Taylor remained in charge only in Test cricket. Then, at the end of the 2015 World Cup, he retired from internationals and went to the UK
on a Kolpak deal aged 29. In late 2017, he ended his Kolpak deal
and returned to Zimbabwean cricket.