FORMER Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu will make a return to top-class cricket at the age of 35 after signing for a yet-to-be-named Sri Lankan domestic team ahead of the forthcoming first-class season.
By Enock Muchinjo
It is yet another interesting twist in the life of Taibu, who quit international cricket in 2012 aged just 29, to focus on church work.
A devout Christian and ardent preacher, Taibu—who played 28 Tests, 150 One-Day Internationals and 17 Twenty20s for Zimbabwe—vowed not to have anything to do with cricket again, as he was busy ministering.
But the youngest Test captain in history made a surprise return to the game in 2016 after accepting the position of Zimbabwe’s convener of selectors, saying it was God’s wish that he did so.
Earlier in 2016, Taibu had made his initial comeback as a player after signing for Liverpool and District team Hightown St Mary’s in the United Kingdom.
Speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside, Highway publicist Nick Gordon said Taibu approached the club after they had advertised for an overseas player for the summer.
“It’s not every day that a club like Hightown St Mary’s signs a player like Tatenda,” Gordon said.
“I had to do a double take, it was so unusual. We put out an advert for young players but he said ‘I’m not a young player, I’m a retired Test cricketer.’
“This guy has played at an incredibly high standard of cricket and we are happy to take the risk. Even if he hasn’t picked up a bat since 2012, he will be more than sufficient for our needs this summer.”
During his stay in England, Taibu launched the Rising Stars Academy, which recruited young Zimbabwean players for training and life mentoring in the UK.
One of the players, 21-year-old fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani, has since been lost to the Zimbabwe team after signing a three-year Kolpak deal with county side Northamptonshire.
Taibu was sacked as Zimbabwe’s chief selector in April alongside coach Heath Streak and captain Graeme Cremer after the failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in England.