Indian fixers blackmailed me to spot fix, ICC banning me for not reporting immediately: Zimbabwe cricketer Brendan Taylor

Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor claimed he was approached by bookies in India to get involved in spot-fixing and was later blackmailed by them with threats of leaking cocaine snorting video.

Taylor on Monday took to Twitter to clarify that even though the incident left him in a ‘dark place’, he did not get involved in any form of match-fixing. However, he is set to face a ban by ICC anti-corruption code because of the four-month time he took to inform them about the approach.

Calling it a ‘burden’ that the 35-year old has been carrying for two years, Taylor said that he is anything but a cheat but mute about it because he was scared for his family’s safety and his own during this time. Taylor said that he would accept whatever decision the ICC takes in this regard.

In a four-page statement on Twitter, Taylor wrote:

I’ve been carrying a burden for over 2 years now that has sadly taken me to some very dark places and had a profound effect on my mental health. And I’ve only recently managed to start sharing my story with close friends and family and receive the love and support I guess I was too ashamed and frightened to seek in the first place.

This may not make for comfortable reading but I would like to make a statement regarding a finding made by the ICC, which is soon to be released. In late October 2019, I was approached by an Indian businessman requesting that I attend India to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe and was advised that I would be paid USD$15 000 to make the journey.

I can’t deny I was a little wary. 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.

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. I’ve gone over it a million times since and still feel sick to my stomach reliving that night and how they played me.

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. ‘d willingly walked into a situation that has changed my life forever.

I was handed the USD$15 000 but was told this was now a ‘deposit’ for spot fixing and that an additional USD$20 000 would be paid once the “job” was complete. I took the money so I could get on a plane and leave India. I felt I had no choice at the time because saying no was clearly not an option. All I knew was I had to get out of there.

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.

The ‘businessman’ wanted a return on his investment which I could not and would not give. 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 made his debut for Zimbabwe in 2004 in an ODI against Sri Lanka. He scored 6684 runs from 205 matches with 11 ODI hundreds. He made 2320 runs from 34 Tests and 934 runs in 45 T20Is. He retired from international cricket last year, calling time on his 17-year career at the highest level.

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