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‘I was scared for my own safety’ – Brendan Taylor alleges being ‘cornered’ to spot fix in tell-all statement

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

Former Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor says the ICC are set to impose a “multi-year ban” on his international career after it took him four months to reveal an offer made to him to engage in spot fixing.

Taylor, who announced his retirement from internationals last year, released a statement explaining that in October 2019 he was contacted by an Indian businessman who wanted him to attend an event in India to “discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe”. He was told that he’d be paid US $15,000 for the journey.

“I can’t deny I was a little wary,” said Taylor. “But the timing was such that we hadn’t been paid for 6 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 for a celebratory dinner.”

It was at this dinner that Taylor says he was offered cocaine. “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.”

“The following morning, the same men stormed into my hotel room and showed me a video taken of me the night before doing cocaine and told me that if I did not spot fix at international matches for them, the video would be released to the public.

“I was cornered. And with 6 of these individuals in my hotel room, I was scared for my own safety. I’d fallen for it. I’d willingly walked into a situation that has changed my life forever.”

Taylor added that he was handed the $15,000 as a “deposit” for spot fixing, and was told that he would be paid $20,000 more after the “job” was completed. Taylor added that he took the money so he could leave India, before revealing the impact of the event on his mental health.

“When I returned home, the stress of what had taken place severely impacted my mental and physical health. I was a mess. I was diagnosed with shingles and prescribed strong anti-psychotic medication – amitriptyline.”

He then went on to discuss his approach to the ICC with respect to the matter.

“It took me 4 months to report this offence and interaction to the ICC. I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family. I approached the ICC on my own terms and I hoped that if I explained my predicament, my genuine fear for our safety and wellbeing, that they would understand the delay.

“Unfortunately, they did not, but 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.”

Taylor clarified that he had never participated in “any form of match-fixing”, but that the ICC were going to impose a multi-year ban on his international career.

“As a result of approaching the ICC I attended multiple interviews and engagements and was as honest and transparent as I could be during their investigations. Inside and outside I was beating myself up and I still wish I had sought support and advice earlier for a multitude of reasons.”

“That being said, the ICC are taking the decision to impose a multi-year ban on my international cricketing career. I humbly accept this decision and only hope that my story will be used as a means of encouragement for cricketers to report any approaches early.”

Taylor also revealed that he will be checking into a rehabilitation centre to “get clean”, adding that he has “let a substance take control of me and impair my vision, my morals, and my values”.

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