Exclusive || Playing in IPL has strengthen my resume, I am optimistic of future: Tatenda Taibu, ex-Zimbabwe skipper

At the age when most of us are busy figuring out our careers and passions, 20-year-old Tatenda Taibu was given to lead the national Zimbabwe team against the mightiest of the game. Superb technique with the bat, excellent athleticism behind the wicket and visionary leadership skills, made the native of Harare, the youngest captain of all time, a record held by him for 15 years.

The ex-skipper, Zimbabwe’s fourth-highest run-scorer in ODIs, second-most dismissals as a wicketkeeper behind Andy Flower, author of ‘Keeper of Faith,’ coach at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan [BKSP], National Sports Institute in Bangladesh and an entrepreneur, is in peace, away from the buzz and happy over the fact that he has just 300 contacts in his phone book. The Quotes, reached out to Taibu to know his whereabouts, his entrepreneurship journey, how he feels about the growing dynamic of the sport etc. Excerpts of the conversation are as follows-:

Q] We as a cricket buff loved you, your captaincy, your temperament with the bat and wicket-keeping of the highest degree. How are you doing? How is it going for you at BKSP?

Answer: I am doing really well, thanks for reaching out. My family is in the UK, while I am currently in Bangladesh at Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan [BKSP], National Sports Institute in Bangladesh where I teach youngsters tricks of the trade of wicket-keeping and batting. Speaking of my time here, I spend most of my time at BKSP where I coach nine times a week, twice on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, while once on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. Friday is an off day for all.

Q] ICRICK, a coaching app developed under your able guidance to answer the technical, tactical, physical and mental questions of budding cricketers and to follow up the question, do you believe sports can be taught digitally?

Answer: The COVID 19 pandemic has indirectly pushed the world in some way to innovate. The same has been the case with ICRICK. We realized that the world was leaning towards virtual mediums to get their needs fulfilled and it was then we (Prashant, Anurag, and Jithoo) realized that cricket coaching can be done virtually. I started holding virtual meetings with students and reverted them either by text, voice notes or recorded videos. We also collected ball by ball data of international matches to study it and add informative features in the app.

2) That’s not going to happen, but technology will surely plays a pivotal role in the future. We are already observing how technology is helping umpires and referees to make accurate decisions. Similarly , we believe as the technology evolves, cricket coaching via digital medium will be effective. Also, technology and AI do not have physical boundaries so to say and it can help the best of the teachings to reach remotest of areas.

Q] You called on your career in 2012 when franchisee tournaments like BBL and IPL were becoming household names. Do you have any qualms about the fact that you left the game when you could have taken a lot from it?

Answer: My spiritual journey made me more powerful. Had I not taken up that journey, I would still be trapped in the rat race. I have sorted out the puzzle. Now, I am more relaxed and at peace. I am surrounded by people who love me. Many celebrities will never realize who really loved them.

Q] You have earlier expressed your wish to be part of the IPL. Have you ever sent your resume to BCCI or any of the franchises in the IPL?

Answer: I can proudly say that I was part of the world’s best T20 tournament. I don’t live on regrets. I feel privileged to be part of KKR’s scheme of things, once. Right now I’m completing my UK level 3 and will go on to level 4 before I start that journey. In the meantime, I’m loving coaching at BKSP and my students around the globe. I am optimistic about future.

Q] How do you evaluate Zimbabwe’s cricket at the moment? The team was recently defeated by Afghanistan, Namibia and Sri Lanka?

Answer: The board needs to do a lot of work to produce quality cricket in the country. Having said that, I don’t think I should comment on that as I don’t have a solution and I am not in a position to bring any sort of solution. I’m not employed by ZC to give out a solution therefore I will not bore anyone with the problem.

Q] At the age of 20, you were leading the national squad against the greatest of the game. How was that experience? Please take us through the memory lane when you held the highest position in the dressing room when you were a new entrant in the team.

Answer: I still remember those days like yesterday. I got so consumed and gave my everything to the game. I had a vision as I could observe the finest details of the sports. I was so confident that I don’t remember feeling the pressure. I don’t remember the effects of my age. It was just about doing well the very next ball and the next. One over to another, one session to another, one innings to another, one game to another, one series to another.

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