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Taibu’s got a point to prove

Tatenda Taibu is back in John Buchanan’s scheme of things. Having been included in the squad for Kolkata Knight Riders’ tie against Bangalore Royal Challengers, Taibu is looking to make his mark.

Given Zimbabwe’s limited exposure in world cricket these days, the former captain wants to make the most of the opportunities. It’s a matter of adjusting to the Twenty20 format and Taibu is confident that he has it in him to excel.

“I wasn’t paying much attention to the build-up of the IPL… I don’t watch a lot of TV or read newspapers. I was playing in Pakistan when I got the call… But I was not surprised since there are a few international wicketkeepers in the game,” he told The Telegraph.

He feels Zimbabwe will take a few years to achieve success. “Losing Test status is obviously a setback but it will also give us an opportunity to play a lot of four-day cricket. It will be very useful for all the guys coming up.

“Obviously we have a bad name at the moment… But I believe it’s just a passing phase… It happens in every sphere of life. The one positive that has emerged out of all this is we have realised that there is a lot of young talent in the country and the grassroots level is just developing.

“We can’t run away from the fact that we are struggling. It’s because there are quite a few youngsters but we badly need experience. You can only gain it through playing. It’s just a matter of time… If we keep playing a lot of four-day cricket, we will take three to four years to come out of this slump,” he explained.

Taibu, the youngest captain in international cricket when he was chosen to lead Zimbabwe at the age of 18, walked out of the national squad at the age of 22 in November 2005.

He spent a month playing club cricket in Bangladesh in January last year before coming to England to join Pyrford in Surrey. He then signed a six-month deal with Namibia, who play in South Africa’s domestic first-class set-up but did not renew that contract and returned home in May.

“It was not the best decision in the circumstances… I thought things were not run nicely in Zimbabwe cricket but after I went out I decided that at the end of the day I am a player. The best way I can help my country tide over the crisis is by scoring runs. That’s what I decided to do in the end,” he said.

Why did he give up plans of playing for another country?

“There were quite a few opportunities for me… They were a few places I wanted to go. In the end I decided home is always best. My wife doesn’t like travelling. So she convinced me to come back and play for Zimbabwe….”

India deferring their tour of Zimbabwe has also been a setback. “Obviously not good… But there’s very little we can do about it. The players have to keep their hopes high.”

The tumultous political situation in Zimbabwe is also taking its toll on the players but Taibu doesn’t want to talk about it.

“Usually we are not at liberty to speak about politics… But my heart just cries when someone asks me about the state of affairs since we too don’t know much. It’s the same situation with us.”

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