The 33-year old has accepted the role of Zimbabwe Cricket’s convener of selectors and development officer and will take up his position next month, with one of his primary tasks being the installation of floodlights at Zimbabwe’s premier cricket ground at Harare.
According to Taibu, due to the lack of floodlights on home turfs, Zimbabwe have frequently flopped at major cricketing tournaments where most matches are played under floodlights. Given Zimbabwe’s present situation, lack of floodlights at home grounds could be a major factor in their disappointing outings at recent tournaments as they have been the only ICC full members who weren’t able to make the main draws of the previous two T20 World Cups.
Ever since Taibu announced his retirement from the sport, Zimbabwe Cricket have been trying to get him back in the game as a player or an administrator, which Taibu denied a number of times before finally agreeing on taking up his administrative role.
Another of Taibu’s main tasks will be to convince former cricketers to come back in the national setup as a player or coach and he has already been in contact with a few players including Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis.
As he takes up his job next month, Taibu will be keen to build a strong foundation both on the field and on the administrative side to maintain harmony between the players and the board, so that the team can produce at least a couple of promising performances in the next few series against Pakistan A, Sri Lanka and West Indies.
Following his retirement, Taibu stated: “I just feel that my true calling now lies in doing the Lord’s work, and although I am fortunate and proud to have played for my country, the time has come for me to put my entire focus on that part of my life.”
Touted to be a star at a young age
Having made his debut in 2001 aged only 17, the wicketkeeper-batsman was given the captaincy of the national team in 2004, thus becoming the youngest test captain in the history of the game. He quit the national team in 2005 due to political interference in the management of the game. However, he came back to the team in 2007 and was a regular until finally announcing his retirement from the sport in 2012.
Taibu represented Zimbabwe in two cricket World Cups and as many World T20s. In 28 Tests, Taibu scored 1546 runs at an average of 30.31, hitting 12 fifties and a hundred with his highest Test score being 153 against Bangladesh at Dhaka in 2005. He is Zimbabwe’s eighth-highest run scorer in Tests.
In ODIs, Taibu is Zimbabwe’s seventh-highest run scorer with 3393 runs in 150 ODIs at an average of 29.25, garnering 22 half-centuries and two centuries with his highest ODI score being an unbeaten 107 against South Africa at Harare in 2007 in his comeback series. Taibu has made a total of 62 Test dismissals (57 catches and 5 stumpings) and 147 ODI dismissals (114 catches and 33 stumpings).
Once touted to be the next big thing in world cricket under players like Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Heath Streak, Guy Whittall, Alastair Campbell, the team have been going through a period of decline since 2005 due to increased politicisation of cricket including selectorial policy which propelled ICC to ban the country from Test cricket before reinstating them as a Test-playing nation in 2011.
Currently assisting in the rebuilding of a club called Hightown St. Mary’s CC in Liverpool, Taibu intends to do the same with Zimbabwe cricket.