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Who’s lying?

Darlington Majonga

FORMER Zimbabwe skipper Tatenda Taibu had indeed wanted to play for South Africa and most likely only made a U-turn after he was advised the nationali

ty switch would be “very difficult”.

The revelations came in the wake of Taibu’s rebuttal of media reports that he intended to revive his international career as a South African after walking out on Zimbabwe last year at the height of a player revolt.

Taibu at the weekend denied he had ever talked to The Times, which had quoted him as saying: “I will never return to the Zimbabwe side and I want to play Test cricket. South Africa is the best option.”

The 23-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman insisted he only wanted to play franchise cricket in South Africa en route to England, where he has been playing for Surrey club Pyrford.

However, this paper this week established Taibu had indeed made the initial move to switch nationality, contrary to his denial.

Taibu phoned Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Gerald Majola to express his desire to play in South Africa and qualify for the Proteas.

“Taibu has called to say he wants to play in South Africa, but I think it will be very difficult for him to play for us because he has to qualify and four years from now is a long time,” Majola told IndependentSport yesterday.

“Besides we have a lot of other talented South African players coming up and I can’t say whether he would qualify even after four years.”

However, Majola instead inquired on behalf of Taibu if any South African franchise side would be interested in taking him.

“He has asked me if he can play at any of the franchise sides and all I’ve done is refer him,” he said. “What happens between him and the franchise sides has nothing to do with this office. You can check with the sides.”

Highveld Lions confirmed Taibu had expressed interest, through CSA, in joining the franchise side but no talks have been held yet.

“CSA phoned us to check if we were interested in a player like him (Taibu) and we said we would want to have a look at him,” Highveld Lions chief executive Alan Kourie told IndependentSport yesterday.

“However, there are no talks yet, no contact whatsoever except that Taibu has showed interest in joining us.”

Cape Cobras chief executive André Odendaal could not be reached for comment.

Efforts to get hold of Taibu also failed.

International mediators are believed to have resolved to approach Taibu with a view to reconciling him with Zimbabwe Cricket.

Zimbabwe Cricket has said Taibu is welcome to return to national duty.

Meanwhile Gary Brent has made himself available for Zimbabwe again, more than two years after he and 14 other white players walked out on national duty to protest the dismissal of Heath Streak as skipper.

The 30-year-old Brent has been training with the national side that was expected to leave for the ICC Champions Trophy in India today, although he is not part of the travelling squad.

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