Former Zimbabwe cricket captain, Brendan Taylor reveals blackmail plot after Indian businessmen took videos of him taking cocaine to make him fix cricket matches
Former Zimbabwe cricket captain, Brendan Taylor has revealed that he was blackmailed into accepting a bribe to spot-fix international games but that he never went through with it.
Taylor, 35, said he was threatened by a businessman in India in October 2019 to spot fix at international matches after they filmed him taking cocaine. He said he took 15,000 US dollars but has never taken part in match-fixing.
Taylor said the International Cricket Council (ICC) is now imposing a “multi-year ban” on his international career.
“I would like to place on record that I have never been involved in any form of match-fixing. I may be many things, but I am not a cheat,” said ex-Zimbabwe captain Taylor, who announced last year he was retiring from international cricket.
“My love for the beautiful game of cricket far outweighs and surpasses any threats which could be thrown my way.”
The ICC told BBC Sport an investigation is ongoing.
Taylor, one of Zimbabwe’s best-known cricketers, added he would check into a rehabilitation facility on Tuesday to treat his substance abuse.
He described the last two years as “hell”, adding that it had “severely impacted” his mental and physical health and he had been diagnosed with shingles and prescribed “strong anti-psychotic medication”.
“It is from absolutely rock bottom that I am trying to climb out of this mess I made,” he said.
“I have let a substance take control of me and impair my vision, my morals, and my values and it is time I prioritise what really matters.”
Taylor, who has played 35 Tests, 205 one-day internationals and 45 Twenty20s for Zimbabwe and also played county cricket for Nottinghamshire, said he travelled to India to discuss a potential T20 league in his home country.
He said such conversations took place and on the final night, he was offered cocaine.
The next day the same men “stormed” into his hotel room, showed him a video of the drug use, and said it would be made public if Taylor did not spot fix for them, Taylor said.
Taylor said he was given 15,000 dollars (£11,000) as a “deposit” and would be given an additional 20,000 (£14,800) dollars when the “job was complete”.
“A ‘businessman’ wanted a return on his investment which I could not and would not give,” Taylor said.
“I took the money so I could get out of India. I felt I had no choice at the time because saying no was clearly not an option
“All I knew is I had to get out of there.”
Taylor said it took him four months to report the offence to the ICC.
“I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family,” he said.
The ICC’s anti-corruption code bans players from accepting bribes to influence a match and also says all approaches must be reported “without unnecessary delay”.
BBC Sport understands Taylor has accepted the ICC’s charges and has been offered sanctions by the governing body, although no final decision has been made.