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OTD | Youngest captain in the history of Test Cricket, Tatenda Taibu, was born in 1983

OTD | Youngest captain in the history of Test Cricket, Tatenda Taibu, was born in 1983

Former Zimbabwean cricketer Tatenda Taibu, who captained the national team, has only been in the game sphere for a short period but has experienced ups and downs. At the age of 21, he became the youngest Test captain in history when he led his side against Sri Lanka. He was playing ‘hide-and-seek’ in international cricket, but Zimbabwe cricket will always be indebted to his contributions.

The Harare-born cricketer made his first-class debut at the age of 16. Due to his solid skills as a batter and wicketkeeper, he was closely watched by the Zimbabwean selectors. He made his ODI and Test debut in 2001 at the age of 18 but had a torrid start to his journey. The 2003 World Cup was the highlight of his career, where he made some crucial knocks lower down the order and was excellent with the gloves.

In the same year, he was appointed vice-captain to Zimbabwean legend Heath Streak for the team’s tour of England. In April 2004, he became the captain and took the record for the youngest Test captain in history (20 years 358 days). The record was later broken by Rashid Khan who was 8 days younger than Taibu when he captained Afghanistan against Bangladesh in 2009.

The beginning of a roller-coaster ride for Taibu

Under his captaincy, the experienced Zimbabwe could not perform well. Taibu notched up his career-best Test score of 153 against Bangladesh in the 2004 series, but his team’s decline in performances later took a toll on his batting. He decided to take a break from the game, but it came in the form of resignation from all forms.

Taibu returned to international cricket in 2007 and performed admirably. The keeper-batter scored a century against India A in July and in the final game of South Africa’s tour of Zimbabwe in August, he slammed a career-best of 107*. Notably, it was the first ODI hundred by a Zimbabwe cricketer against South Africa.  

His splendid knock of 98 runs in the 2011 World Cup, which helped Zimbabwe win by 175 runs against Canada in Nagpur will always be remembered. On 10 July 2012, Taibu, who had played 28 Tests and 150 ODIs, decided to call the curtain on his career at the age of 29 to focus on church work. 

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