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Ex-Zimbabwe Captain Brendan Taylor 'blackmailed to spot-fix matches after cocaine use'

Former Zimbabwe captain says he was blackmailed into accepting a bribe to spot-fix international games but that he never went through with it.

Brendan Taylor, former captain of Zimbabwe’s national cricket team, said he was threatened by businessman in India in October 2019 to spot fix at international matches after they filmed him taking cocaine.

35 year-old Taylor says he took 15,000 US dollars but has never taken part in match fixing.

The ex-Zimbabwe captain is now facing a "multi-year ban" on his international career by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Taylor announced his retirement from International cricket just last year.

"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.

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 prioritize 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 US$15,000 dollars as a "deposit" and would be given an additional US$20,000 dollars when the "job was complete".

"A 'businessman' wanted a return on his investment which I could not and would not give,"

he 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 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. (BBC Sport)


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