BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
TWELVE years after making history by becoming the first Zimbabwean cricketer to feature in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), Tatenda Taibu says he would love to make a return to the Asian country as a coach.
Taibu was the first Zimbabwe player to feature in the IPL after being bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise for a sum of US$125 000 in the inaugural season in 2008.
However, with New Zealand superstar Brendon McCullum the other wicketkeeper/batsman in the squad, Taibu did not get enough playing opportunities, after starting in just three IPL games before being released ahead of the 2009 IPL auction.
Over two decades since the one-in-a-lifetime experience, Taibu still has very fond memories of his time in India and expressed his desire to coach in the world-famous Twenty20 competition, the IPL and India’s domestic first-class cricket championship, the Ranji Trophy.
The 36-year-old former Zimbabwe cricket team captain and wicketkeeper revealed his ambitions in an interview with the Indian publication Mathrubhumi.
Taibu was speaking on the sidelines of Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2020 (MBIFL20) in the southern Indian state of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, where he was one of the special guests at the annual literary festival, organised by the Mathrubhumi newspaper group.
The England-based Zimbabwean legend said he was looking for coaching opportunities in India after recently missing out on a role within the Sri Lanka technical team.
“Recently I had applied for the position of fielding coach for the Sri Lanka national team. I was shortlisted in the last three, but narrowly missed it. “I would love to be a coach at one of the IPL teams or Ranji Trophy teams. I am confident that I can be a valuable addition,” said Taibu.
Taibu feels that Indian cricket is undoubtedly at its best in world cricket at the moment due to the success of its national teams as well as the IPL tournament.
“India is the team to beat now. They are the team to beat in all aspects and are totally dominant,” he said.
“IPL is one of the biggest events in the world of cricket now. Everything else stops for the IPL. There may be similar T20 leagues in other countries, but nothing comes close in any aspect, be it the number of players, their quality or the way IPL has been marketed. You name any aspect of cricket IPL is head and shoulders above everything else,” said the former wicketkeeper.
He added: “India always had talent, but their development in various areas of the game was revolutionised by the IPL. The event brought Indian players close to cricket from other parts of the world. “Not just players, but coaches, trainers, physicians etc. This helped the holistic development of Indian cricket. Now you can see that they are at the top of their game in every aspect.”
Taibu, who has been to India many times as a player, said he considers the populous South Asian country as his second home.