Zimbabwe wicketkeeper-batsman Tatenda Taibu has suddenly announced his retirement from international cricket, citing that he now wants to focus on working for the church. In a career that spanned over a decade, the little man saw more than his share of ups and downs. Pitchforked into leading the side amidst the revolt in Zimbabwean cricket, Taibu became the youngest Test captain in history – a stint which was so unproductive that Taibu quit Zimbabwe cricket in 2005, only to return a couple of years later, purely as a player. Taibu played 28 Tests and 150 ODIs scoring 1,546 and 3,393 runs respectively. Had he featured for a stronger team, and may be with better application, he could have achieved a lot more. Still, Taibu did manage to exhibit glimpses of his talent at the international level. Here’s a look.
85 not out and 153 Vs Bangladesh: Dhaka Test 2005
The game was drawn and Bangladesh went on to win the series. However, Taibu came up with a memorable, match-winning performance at Dhaka. Batting first, Zimbabwe managed to post a decent 298 on board courtesy Taibu’s unbeaten 85. It was an innings that during he showed tremendous patience even as wickets kept falling around him. After Bangladesh were cleaned up for 211, Taibu was once again the hero for Zimbabwe with the bat. He was at the crease for 340 minutes during the second essay, and ended up with a score of 153, which included 19 fours and two sixes. Taibu’s knock gave Zimbabwe hope of squaring the series after they had lost the opening Test. However, the hosts batted sensibly in their second essay and Zimbabwe had to settle for a draw. Taibu, though, was deservedly the man of the match.
103 not out Vs South Africa, Benoni, 2009
South Africa won the ODI easily, however Taibu won many hearts with his fighting spirit. Batting first, the Proteas had posted a massive 295 on board thanks to half-centuries from Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel. In reply, Zimbabwe struggled to 48 for 5 when Taibu joined hands with Stuart Matsikenyeri. The duo featured in an amazing partnership that helped Zimbabwe restore some pride. While Matsikenyeri fell for a brilliant 86, Taibu remained unbeaten on 103, an innings featuring six fours and three sixes. The counter-attack wasn’t enough for Zimbabwe to win, but Taibu did well enough to win another man of the match.
107 not out Vs South Africa, Harare 2007
This game took a very similar path to the one mentioned above. Batting first, South Africa amassed 323 courtesy a ton from A B de Villiers and 97 from Albie Morkel. Zimbabwe fought hard in their reply, with Taibu registering his maiden one-day hundred. With support from the top order, Taibu took Zimbabwe closer to 300. However, the target proved too high a mountain to climb for the talented Taibu again. Also, this time he wasn’t the man of the match.
--By A Cricket Analyst