New Delhi: Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has made shocking claims against an unnamed Indian businessman, saying he was forced to accept $15,000 for spot-fixing after a video was recorded of a cricketer consuming cocaine in India. The 35-year-old announced his international retirement last year.
In a detailed note shared on Twitter, Taylor revealed how he was called up by a businessman in October 2019 to fly down to India to discuss sponsorship details and potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe. The former wicketkeeper claims he entertained the person’s request in the backdrop of not being paid by Zimbabwe Cricket for six months. However, things took a dramatic turn after he was taken for a celebratory dinner by the aforementioned businessman and his colleagues on the last day of his stay in India.
Taylor alleges he was baited to take cocaine during the dinner and a video of it was made which was later used to blackmail him.
Here’s his full statement…
To my family, friends and supporters. Here is my full statement. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/sVCckD4PMV
— Brendan Taylor (@BrendanTaylor86) January 24, 2022
“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 | would like to make a statement regarding a finding made by the ICC, which is soon to be released.
“In late October 2019, | was approached by an Indian businessman requesting that | attend India to discuss sponsorships and the potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe and was advised that | 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 | 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, | was scared for my own safety. I’d fallen for it. I’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| knew was | 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 | hoped that if | 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,” the statement read.
Taylor turned out in 34 Tests, 205 ODIs and 45 T20s for Zimbabwe in his career. He managed to notch up 2,320 Test, 6,684 ODI and 934 T20 runs in his career. The delay in reporting this approach now means that ICC is set to ban and impose other sanctions on Taylor.