CAPE TOWN: Former Zimbabwe cricket captain Brendan Taylor was banned for three-and-a half years on Friday for breaching anti-corruption and anti-doping rules after he failed to report a match-fixing approach and tested positive for cocaine.

The International Cricket Council said Taylor admitted to four charges under the anti-corruption code stemming from an incident in 2019 when he said he accepted $15,000 from businessmen in India, who asked him to fix international games.

Taylor said he was blackmailed and never went through with the arrangement and that he was coerced into accepting the money.

Taylor also was found guilty of an anti-doping offence after testing positive for the stimulant Benzoylecognine, which is a cocaine metabolite.

He tested positive after a One-day International against Ireland in September, the ICC said. Taylor retired from international cricket after that series.

Taylor announced the ICC ban was coming in a personal statement on Monday, when he said he had been tricked into meeting with businessmen in India three years ago on the pretense that they wanted to discuss a sponsorship opportunity for him.

“Over such a long career, he [Taylor] participated in numerous anti-corruption and anti-doping education sessions and knew exactly what his obligations were under the ICC anti-corruption and anti-doping codes,” said Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC’s Integrity Unit.

“It is disappointing that a player of his experience chose not to fulfil those obligations. However, he has accepted all charges, which has been reflected in the sanction.”

Taylor revealed on Monday in a tweet that he took cocaine and accepted a $15,000 bribe from an Indian businessman.

Taylor said he was offered cocaine at a dinner with the businessmen and they then used a secret video of him using the drug to blackmail him into becoming a match-fixer for them. Taylor said he took the cash so he could get out of the situation but never fixed.

However, he didn’t report the incident to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit for four months.

The 35-year-old Taylor also admitted he had a problem with cocaine and said he was going to check into a rehabilitation centre this week.

Taylor, who played for Zimbabwe in 34 Tests, 205 one-dayers and 45 T20s, retired from international cricket in September.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2022

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