Taibu quits as Zimbabwe cricket hits new crisis

Published: Friday, November 25, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare:Zimbabwe cricket was plunged into another crisis when captain Tatenda Taibu resigned.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), which runs the sport in the strife-torn country, confirmed that the 22-year-old was giving up the international game.

Taibu had earlier Thursday said he was resigning from the captaincy and from international cricket as a Test and One-day player for his country of birth in protest at his contract and the way cricket has been run in the southern African country.

Zimbabwe Cricket said it had accepted his resignation.

"The ZC would have hoped for a change of mind if Taibu was retiring from the game totally, but since he has expressed his desire to play abroad, we have to accept his decision," said ZC in a statement.

Taibu, an inspirational wicket-keeper who has been Zimbabwe captain for 20 months, said he was quitting because he was unhappy with the way cricket was being managed.

"Eighty percent of the reason is the state of Zimbabwe's cricket administration and 20 percent the terms of my contract," Taibu told AFP in an interview.

ZC said it could not afford Taibu's expected net monthly salary equivalent to 4,366 US dollars plus match fees and other perks, but expressed its appreciation and gratitude "for the sterling effort Taibu has put into local cricket as a player, and for the way he has led the Zimbabwe team as captain, winning acclaim at home and abroad".

Taibu also said he had received threats that left him feeling unsafe.

"I also don't like the threats that have been made against me personally in the last few days. I have been threatened by telephone and also face to face by the same person, whose name I have reported to police," said Taibu adding at one time he fled his house to stay in a hotel for his safety.

"I have considered this very carefully and I'm certain it's the right decision for me in the long term."

Taibu who is little under five feet (1.5 metres) and arguably Zimbabwe cricket's most successful black player, became international cricket's youngest captain at 20 in April last year after he was was thrust into the captaincy following a race row that led to the axing of former skipper Heath Streak.

The row led the ZC to sack a total of 15 senior players, all white, and sparked a chain of events that saw Zimbabwe temporarily suspended from Test cricket.

Taibu's friend, and recently sacked Zimbabwe national coach Phil Simmons, has arranged for the cricketer to go to England early next year to play club cricket.

Taibu and other national players have, during the last two weeks, been teaming up with the country's seven provincial chairmen in a bid to have ZC chairman Peter Chingoka sacked and the managing director Osias Bvute suspended pending an investigation into the financial activities of the cricket body.

Zimbabwe cricket has been in crisis ever since and their performances have been so poor that both England and Australia have refused to play Test matches against them.

Their next tour is to the West Indies in May, but they will have to manage without Taibu.

Taibu has played 24 Tests for Zimbabwe, scoring 1,273 runs at an average of 29.6, and 83 One-day internationals, making 1,400 runs at 25.45.

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