Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has said in a lengthy statement that he was allegedly blackmailed into spot fixing matches by an “Indian businessman” and that he now faces a “multi-year” ban from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for four-month delay in reporting the approach.
Taylor, who retired from international cricket in September 2021, said that he had been invited to India in “late October 2019 to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe” and was told that he would “be paid 15,000 USD to make the journey”.
“I can’t deny that I was a little wary. But the timing was such that we hadn’t been paid for six months by Zimbabwe Cricket and it was questionable whether Zimbabwe would be able to continue playing in the international arena. So I made the journey. The discussions took place, as he had said, and on our last night in the hotel, the businessman and his colleagues took me to a celebratory dinner,” said Taylor in a statement which he posted on Twitter.
To my family, friends and supporters. Here is my full statement. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/sVCckD4PMV
— Brendan Taylor (@BrendanTaylor86) January 24, 2022
“We had drinks and during the course of the evening they openly offered me cocaine, which they themselves engaged in, and I foolishly took the bait. I’ve gone over it a million times since and still feel sick to my stomach reliving that night and how they played me,” he further said.
Taylor then says that “the same men” entered his hotel room the following morning and showed a video of him taking the substance “and told me that that if I did not spot fix at international matches for them, the video would be released to the public”.
He said that he was handed the money he was previously promised but was told that it was now a “deposit” and that an additional USD 20,000 would be paid once “the job was complete”. “I took the money so I could get on a plane and leave India. I felt I had no choice at the time because saying no was clearly no option. All I knew was I had to get out of there,” he said.
Taylor said that he did not go through with the demand and never indulged in spot-fixing but the incident had severely impacted his mental health. “I was diagnosed with shingles and prescribed strong anti-psychotic medication – amitriptyline,” he said.
He said that it took him four months to approach the ICC hoping that they would understand the delay. “Unfortunately, they did not and I cannot feign ignorance in this regard. I have attended many anti-corruption seminars over the years and we know that time is of the essence when making reports,” he said.
Taylor said that he would accept whatever the ICC imposes on him. “And so, I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday, the 25th of January I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and get my life back on track. I have to tell my story now because I know people still want to hear from me,” he said.
Taylor made his debut for Zimbabwe in 2004 in an ODI against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo, and went on to become one of the mainstays of the side. He scored 6684 runs from 205 matches with 11 ODI hundreds. He made 2320 runs from 34 Tests and 934 runs in 45 T20Is.
Source: India Today