Brendan Taylor surprised many this morning with his Twitter post in which he explained why the matches were fixed and how it affected him. Statement: To my friends, family, supporters and wider public. I have been carrying a burden for over two years now that has sadly taken me to some very dark places and had a profound effect on my mental health.
And I have only recently started sharing my story with close friends and family and received the love and support I guess I was too ashamed and frightened to seek in the first place.
This may not make for comfortable reading but I would like to make a statement regarding a finding made by the ICC, which is soon to be released.
In late October 2019, I was approached by an Indian businessman requesting that I attend India to discuss sponsorships and potential launch of a T20 competition in Zimbabwe and I was advised that I would be paid USD $15000 to make the journey.
I can't deny I was a little wary. But the timing was such that we hadn't been paid for six months by Zimbabwe Cricket and it was questionable whether Zimbabwe would be able to continue playing in the international arena.
So I made the journey. The discussions took place, as he had said, and on our last night in the hotel, the businessman and his colleagues took me for a celebratory dinner. We had drinks and during the course of the evening they openly offered cocaine, which they themselves engaged in, and I foolishly took the bait.
I have gone over it a million times since and I still feel sick to my stomach reliving that night and how they played me. The following morning, the same men stormed into my hotel and showed a video taken of me the night before doing cocaine and told me that if I did not spot fix at international matches for them, the video would be released to the public.
I was concerned. And with six of these individuals in my hotel room, I was scared for my own safety. I had fallen for it. I had willingly walked into the situation that changed my life forever. I was handed the 15000 but I was told this was a 'deposit' for spot fixing and that an additional 20000 would be paid once the "job" was complete.
I took the money so I could get on a plane and leave India. I felt I had no choice at that time because saying no clearly was not an option. All I knew was I had to get out of there. When I returned home the stress of what had taken place severely impacted by mental and physical health.
I was a mess. I was diagnosed with shingles and prescribed strong anti-psychotic medication - amitriptyline. The 'businessman' wanted a return on his investment which I could not and would not give. It took four months to report this offence and interaction to the ICC.
I acknowledge this was too long of a time but I thought I could protect everyone and in particular, my family. I approached the ICC on my own terms and I hoped that if I explained my predicament, my genuine fear for our safety and well being, that they would understand the delay.
Unfortunately they did not, but I cannot feign ignorance in this regard. I have attended many anti-corruption seminars over the years and we know time is of the essence when making reports. 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. My love for the beautiful game far outweighs and surpasses any threats which could be thrown my way. As a result of approaching the ICC I attended multiple interviews and engagements and was as honest and transparent as I could be during their investigations.
Inside and outside I was beating myself up and I still wish I had sought support and advice earlier for a multitude of reasons.
Brendan Taylor ban
That being said, the ICC are taking the decision to impose a multi-year ban on my international cricketing career.
I humbly accept this decision and only hope that my story will be used as a means of encouragement for cricketers to report any approaches early. I will admit that the past two years have been incredibly challenging, both personally and professionally and it is from absolute rock bottom that I am trying to climb out of this mess I made.
My family and friends have been incredibly supportive of me and it is clear to me now that I have a much bigger problem which for some time has needed addressing. And so, I would also like to let you know that on Tuesday the 25th of Jnauary I am checking into a rehabilitation centre to get clean and get my life back on track.
I have to tell my story now because I know people will want to hear from me. To try and understand what led to this point. But for many weeks I will be away and trying to get better. I owe it to myself and to my family to get clean and put them first.
I have let a substance take control of me and impair my vision, my morals and my values and it is time that I prioritize what really matters. I also hope my story inspires someone who hears it, to get the help that they need.
I had not realized that coming forward and talking would give me so much relief from the hell I have found myself in for years. Drugs and narcotics do not discriminate and it took all that I have to admit that I have a problem.
To end, I need to let you know I am sorry for those I have hurt. I am sorry for those I have let down. I would like to thank my family, my friends and my supporters for always being there. I have learnt the true meaning of loyalty.
The greatest honor that can be bestowed, is to captain and represent ones country and for this, I am eternally grateful. I am also grateful for what this experience has taught me. I am grateful for my four beautiful children, my loving and supportive wife, my health and the clarity I now have to want to be a better version of myself. Brendan Taylor