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Taibu quits Zimbabwe

Enock Muchinjo

ZIMBABWE national cricket team captain Tatenda Taibu yesterday abruptly ended his international career when he announced his retirement in a shock development to the standoff in the game.

“It’s definitely sad,” Taibu told reporters yesterday. “Sad circumstances have forced me to do that. I feel strongly about the way Zimbabwe cricket is being run. It’s sad to continue to see a lot of players leaving.

“I love my country, and I feel that if things are resolved, and if the right people are put into place, I’II consider coming back to play for my country.”

Taibu said his decision had been prompted by concerns over his safety, administration issues and a deadlock over the signing of his new contract.

Taibu’s safety fears grew this week after revealing to the media of further threats by Temba Mliswa at a hotel where he gone to meet ZC chairman Peter Chingoka.

In a statement issued at a meeting with reporters, Taibu stressed his distress: “I know the Zimbabwean public will want an explanation for my decision to retire. I have already discussed this with my teammates and friends in cricket.

“It is very difficult for me to go into detail, but I am aware it’s my duty to try. I simply want to say that I have not agreed to a new contract with Zimbabwe Cricket yet, and the events of recent weeks have sadly persuaded me that it is not in my best interests to do so.

“The personal pressure on me has become unsustainable for me and my family, especially events off the pitch. I have recently become a father and this has led me to question what is most important in my life. I cannot justify or ignore the threats I and my wife have received.”

The strife in Zimbabwe cricket deepened after players two weeks ago issued a public statement demanding the resignation of Chingoka and ZC managing director Ozias Bvute over the manner the game is being run.

After issuing the ultimatum, Taibu received a call from Mliswa, who accused him of being used by certain forces in the game. This week, Taibu had another encounter with Mliswa at Meikles Hotel where he was meeting Chingoka.

Mliswa is alleged to have approached Taibu and said: “You act like you don’t know me. You think this is over. There is more coming.”

Taibu was today supposed to leave for Cape Town to play for franchise side Cobras, but that has been put on hold now as ZC were supposed to pay the match fees for that contract under their agreement with Taibu and the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

Ealier in the week, Taibu had hinted to this paper that he could join an English county cricket side.

“I have had a chat with the chief executive of one of the county teams to play as a Kolpak player,” he said.

The Kolpak ruling stipulates that any citizen of a country that has an associate agreement with the European Union is granted the same rights as a European worker.

Taibu added that he has also had offers to play in Bangladesh.

Before announcing his decision, Taibu met Chingoka and told him of his intension.

“He said I should give it a bit more time and that I still had a lot to offer in international cricket. He was right about it, but I said I had already made up my mind.”

In a statement released yesterday, ZC said the fallout with Taibu had been caused by the 22-year-old’s contractual demands which the union said they could not meet.

ZC said Taibu was demanding a net figure of $262 million a month, plus match fees and other perks.

“When he was told that ZC found his package unsustainable, Taibu insisted that we had to match what he was being offered under the Kolpak rules abroad,” ZC said in a statement.

“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 as we are obviously unable to compete with the Kolpak packages.”

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