Former Zimbabwe teammates engage in an ugly Facebook conversation
What’s the story?
Two former Zimbabwean teammates, Mark Vermeulen and Brendan Taylor engaged in an unsparing Facebook exchange about the country’s recent on-field debacle. The conversation was soon joined in by a non-cricketer, who was also not spared by Vermeulen.
Taylor, who played 23 Tests and 167 ODIs for his country, defended Zimbabwe’s loss, saying: “Ex-players and commentators always sit back and chip away because it’s easy watching from the comfort of their homes or from a commentary box but forget how tough it can be in the middle.”
The two cricketers argued mercilessly over Zimbabwe’s recent loss to Afghanistan in a one-day international. The side couldn’t chase down Afghanistan’s 9/253 and were dismantled for 54 runs in just 13.5 overs. While Mark Vermeulen called Zimbabwe’s loss ‘disgusting’, Taylor could not bear any insults meted out to his country and team.
Mark Vermeulen didn’t agree to Taylor’s comment which said that it is easy for ex-cricketers and commentators to mock a team’s loss without realising how difficult it may have been for the losing side out in the middle.
The conversation was joined by a commoner, Sheldon Steyn, who advised Vermeulen to support his team or wear his pads and prove that he could have won the game for Zimbabwe.
Taylor then took to Twitter to post a screenshot of the Facebook conversation, calling Vermeulen a “psycho”
Parallels from the past
As per reports on foxsports.com.au, Vermeulen has a long history of losing his cool, when not even required. As a schoolboy in the 1990s, he once reportedly walked off the ground with the stumps and locked himself in the changing room after receiving an unfair LBW decision.
In 2006, he was given a 10-year ban from English club cricket for getting in an altercation with spectators during a game in which he threw a ball at them after they started giving him stick from beyond the boundary rope.
In the same year, the batsman set fire to Zimbabwe’s cricket academy, after not being selected in the national side. This is why Taylor refers to him “burning down one of the few establishments we had” in the verbal spat.
While friendly banters between cricketers have become very common on social media, this incident appears to be one of its kind and only goes to show that gone are those days when cricket could be rightly called the ‘Gentlemen’s Game’.