Taibu returns to professional cricket ‘for son’

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FORMER Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu has announced a surprise return to professional cricket at the age of 35.

The wicket keeper batsman, who became Test cricket’s youngest ever captain at the age of 20 in 2004, has agreed a deal to play for Sri Lankan first class outfit Baduraliya Sports Club and is scheduled to debut for them this month. The club call Surrey Village Cricket Ground in Maggona home and won Sri Lanka’s domestic Twenty20 competition in the 2014/15 season.

Interestingly, Taibu has said one of his motivations to play stems from a conversation with his son, who wanted to know more about his career.

But Taibu, who is now based in the UK, commented: “I have said many times that my life is not guided by emotion or well-set plans, but I believe I am led by a voice inside my heart which I cannot ignore.

Taibu, who retired from all forms of the game in 2012, made a comeback of sorts in 2016 when he agreed to play and coach for UK club side Hightown St Mary’s CC.

“My son Tatenda jnr also often asks how I used to play, now that he has taken a liking to the sport. He didn’t really get the chance to see me as he was too young at the time. I have stayed extremely fit and healthy and feel I’m still one of the fittest cricketers around, so I thought maybe I can let him see for himself how I can perform.”

In 2017 he accepted the role of convener of selectors for the Zimbabwe national side, as well as overseeing the successful Rising Stars academy programme – an idea he conceived to bridge the gap between under 19 and international cricket. But following a 3 run defeat to UAE and failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup, Taibu, head coach Heath Streak, skipper Graeme Cremer and a host of other staff were sacked by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).

A playing return has been ruled out by Taibu on more than one occasion, so this represents a remarkable turnaround from one of Zimbabwe’s most famous sons.

The former skipper’s high-profile clashes with members of the Zimbabwe Cricket board more than likely means that his comeback will be limited to playing spells outside of his home country.

Taibu also confirmed that his potentially explosive autobiography has been finalised and is scheduled for release in April 2019.

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