Taibu's year of cogitating

HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) convener of selectors Tatenda Taibu has revealed that it took him a year before he finally accepted an offer to come back from Liverpool and be part of the game’s rebuilding exercise.

Due to the deep scars he had suffered in his previous two stints as a player, Taibu was not going to easily cave in to persuasion from new ZC chairperson Tavengwa Mukuhlani to come back home.

Mukuhlani, a likeable character emerged as a surprise nomination at the 2015 elective AGM and was unanimously elected board chairperson.

Once he got into office, Mukuhlani had tried to lure former players and coaches to come back into the system to contribute to the game’s resurrection. 

However, Mukuhlani had been the ZC vice chairperson in his previous tenure which coincided with the “rebel era” in 2004 when mostly white players walked out of the team citing interference in the selection panel.

Taibu, who is currently in the United Kingdom with his grassroots developmental project — Zimbabwe Rising Stars Academy — told cricketcustralia.com that he was sceptical of rejoining ZC in any capacity after he quit playing as a mere 29-year-old.

“We had a year discussing, back and forth. I wasn’t convinced the structures were right and I didn’t want to be involved in something where I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” Taibu said.

“We had a final meeting after some travels to and from Zimbabwe. There were a lot of problems regarding selection — the players didn’t feel it was done fairly.”

Taibu, who was named Zimbabwe’s first black Test captain, said he was taken aback to notice that there was no selection policy in place to help him in the discharge of his duties when he took up his new role.

“The structures have really not been there. For example, I tried to get a look at a selection policy when I got involved, and there was no selection policy to look at,” he said.

“I had to come up with one from scratch. There won’t be continuity without those things in place.”

As part of his own contribution to the game and the department he falls under; selection, Taibu has setup an academy and the young cricketers are in the twilight stages of their six-month attachment in the UK.

“If you plant a seed in the wrong atmosphere, it will never germinate.

“If the players I select in that academy remain in Zim, they’re going to play cricket in the same conditions, be around the same coaches, it’s the same atmosphere that all the other players are playing in,” Taibu added.

“I thought if we had six months in the UK, playing on different pitches, against different players, the ball behaves differently, and the ball itself is the Dukes, not the Kookaburra.

“So I wanted to see how they would develop as cricketers, and also as people; we have a life skills coach working with them.

“Life in Zimbabwe —there’s a wall. At the moment it’s quite difficult to get cash — you can have money in your account and struggle to get it out. There are all sorts of little distractions like that which people don’t know about. So we got the ball rolling, and we’re already starting to see players understanding their games. We’ve had four move into the national squad.”

He envisages a positive outlook of Zimbabwe cricket and that starts with qualifying for the World Cup he said.

“I think we’ll see Zimbabwe at the next World Cup, I’m pretty confident of that. (Hosting the qualifiers) will help us massively,” he said.

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