Taibu ready to fit in to the 'hot seat'

Published: Thursday, April 8, 2004, 11:16 [IST]
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London:Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu insisted that he is ready to tackle the challenge and the pressure of becoming the youngest ever international captain in the history of the sport.

Taibu will still be 20 when he leads Zimbabwe out to face Sri Lanka in the first Test in Harare on May 6 - the current record was set by the Nawab of Pataudi who was 21 years and 77 days old when he captained India against the West Indies in Bridgetown in 1961-62.

"When I was made the vice-captain, I was just 19 and I was surprised," said wicketkeeper Taibu who has succeeded Heath Streak after he quit in controversial circumstances last weekend.

"I am ready. I am always ready for the tasks I am given and I want to make the best out of each opportunity that comes my way."

Despite his tender years, Taibu, one of the few black players to have made the senior Zimbabwe team, believes he is the man for the job although he will probably lead out a team stripped of other senior players who are unhappy at the loss of Streak.

"It's a setback to lose him," Taibu told the Wisden website.

"In the last four years you will see that Zimbabwe has been only rebuilding, rebuilding and rebuilding. It is nonstop, the outcome being we are struggling. Playing and losing is very frustrating. No player likes to lose. So we need to put a stop to this. If we keep on rebuilding we will never move ahead."

As well as leading a dispirited Zimbabwe, Taibu knows that he will find himself at the centre of a political storm - not only over Streak but also the continuing doubts over whether or not England will tour later this year.

"I need to wait to see what are the problems before I tackle them," said Taibu.

"I never sat at any of the meetings between the team officials and the Board, so I am unaware of any of the issues which caused the friction.

"I prefer to keep my mouth shut with the way the things are happening. The important thing is the team has remained united. As a captain one needs to completely know each individual in the team, how the player responds to various situations and what can bring the best out of him.

"So obviously all that has to be in the captain's mind if he has to successfully handle the players. For that you need to get well acquainted with each guy and study him carefully.

"I don't think there's a problem with the colour issue in the dressing-room. In the last few years the team has been made up of two colours, and so it's not an issue really.

"We are caught on the back foot at the moment and I know the team will have some disturbing things on their minds," said Taibu who must also face Australia in a home Test and One-day series in May.

"I would only tell them to forget about these things as we can't do anything to avoid them. We need to play the game and put up a good fight, that's all I ask."

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