Tatenda Taibu suprised many with his decision to retire from international cricket at the age of 29 yesterday. “I just feel that my true calling now lies in doing the Lord’s work,” Taibu was quoted as saying in the media, “and although I am fortunate and proud to have played for my country, the time has come for me to put my entire focus on that part of my life.”
However, Aakash Chopra, who played with the wicketkeeper-batsman for Kolkata Knight Riders during the Indian Premier League’s first season in 2008, said the decision came as no surprise to him.
Chopra revealed that Taibu was always seen reading the bible after matches. “I am not at all surprised with the reason behind his decision (to retire). I have always seen him reading the bible whenever he was not playing cricket,” Chopra told MiD DAY.
Chopra said Taibu was always a religious person. “While all other cricketers would listen to music, surf the internet or watch television, Taibu would read the bible. In fact, he never even watched television (during his time with KKR). I thought that it may be his way of unwinding from the game, so I never bothered to look beneath the surface,” he added.
Taibu’s decision was more surprising as he was named in Zimbabwe’s provisional squad for World T20 earlier in the day.
It’s been a whirlwind career for Taibu, who made his debut at the age of 18 in 2001. He would be an automatic choice, except at times when he clashed with the Zimbabwe cricket board. He quit the national side and also stepped down as captain in 2005 following threats against his family. He, however, reappeared for Zimbabwe in 2007. A finger injury kept him out of top-flight cricket since the tour of New Zealand early this year.
Speaking from his own experience, Chopra said ups and downs in a career can lead a player closer to religion. “When I was dropped from the Indian team, I was disturbed. I did a few Art of Living courses. I became quite philosophical. However, I was not so much into it as Taibu,” he said.
Taibu, who was looked upon as long-term successor of Andy Flower, may not have reached the same heights, but he definitely forged a solid career, finishing as Zimbabwe’s fourth-highest run-getter in ODIs (3393) and second-most dismissals (147) in one-dayers than Flowers.