Former Zimbabwe cricket captain Brendan Taylor is slapped with a three-and-a-half year ban after revealing he was blackmailed into fixing matches by Indian businessmen who filmed him taking cocaine and used it against him
Former Zimbabwe batsman Brendan Taylor has been banned from all cricket for three-and-a-half years after admitting he received a $15,000 ‘deposit’ for spot-fixing, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Friday.
Taylor said he was blackmailed and never went through with the arrangement and that he was coerced into accepting the money from an Indian businessman in October 2019.
Spot-fixing refers to manipulation of part of a game to deliver a given outcome for betting purposes. The 35-year-old added that it took him four months to report the incident to the ICC anti-corruption unit because he feared for his safety.
In addition to four breaches of the ICC anti-corruption code, Taylor was also charged with breaching the anti-doping code after testing positive for the stimulant benzoylecognine, a cocaine metabolite, in an in-competition test conducted on September 8, 2021.
‘Brendan is a former international captain who represented Zimbabwe for 17 years,’ ICC integrity unit general manager Alex Marshall said.
Ex-Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has been suspended from all cricket for three-and-a-half years
Taylor, 35, confessed to collecting a $15,000 ‘deposit’ for spot-fixing in October 2019
‘Over such a long career, he participated in numerous anti-corruption and anti-doping education sessions and knew exactly what his obligations were under the ICC Anti-Corruption and Anti-Doping Codes.
‘It is disappointing that a player of his experience chose not to fulfil those obligations, however he has accepted all charges, which has been reflected in the sanction.’
Taylor, who played for Zimbabwe in 34 tests, 205 one-dayers and 45 T20s, retired from international cricket in September.
In an exclusive interview with Sportsmail, Taylor lifted the lid on the precise conversations that were had during the scandal, and revealed he was ‘scared for my own safety’.
In a lengthy statement on the scandal, Taylor revealed that photos were taken to coerce him
‘Two bigger guys were always lurking, circling me. It felt very claustrophobic around my personal space. I was scared for my own safety. I’d fallen for it. I’d willingly walked into a situation that has changed my life for ever,’ he said.
‘At that time Zimbabwe was under suspension from the ICC for government interference and I didn’t have an income coming in. I was six months with no salary, there were rumours we wouldn’t be allowed to play for two years, and all I was trying to do was put food on the table. Prepare for life after playing.
‘That’s why I went. I’d told them on numerous occasions that if there was any skulduggery, they shouldn’t waste time in getting me over there. That I was not wired that way.’
Taylor was handed the agreed fee and told to consider it a deposit, with the rest of $20,000 to be paid once the ‘job’ was complete.
It took Taylor four months to report the incident and was handed the punishment by the ICC
‘When I tried to hand it back and tell them this wasn’t for me, I was told this was how it was going to be and that I would be working for them. Their characters had completely changed, and I thought, “s**t, I’ve got to get out of here”.
‘My bags were packed as I was literally on my way to the airport. From their tone of voice, I felt that if I had resisted longer, it was uncertain where things could have ended up, so I tried to think of the safest option.
‘I considered it was to tell them, “OK, I will work with you now” and then get out. Once on the plane, I felt like they couldn’t touch me. Or harm me in any kind of way. I acted out of fear.
‘I might be a lot of things, but I am not a cheat.’