This Day, That Year: Happy Birthday Tatenda Taibu, Test Cricket’s Second Youngest Captain
Tatenda Taibu (AFP Photo)

Tatenda Taibu, the former Zimbabwe captain, is celebrating his 37th birthday today.

Born on May 14, 1983, a behind the stumps and a sound technique with the bat made Taibu as the natural successor to Zimbabwe great Andy Flower. And he justified that tag to an extent.

His career rose and took a nosedive with the same alarming speed.

It was the testament to his prodigious talent that Taibu was handed an ODI debut when he was all but 17 years old and yet to play a first-class match.

Taibu went on play 28 Tests, 150 ODIs and 17 T20Is between 2001 and 2012.

He scored over 5,000 runs and effected 209 dismissals across formats apart from becoming Test cricket’s youngest ever captain when he was handed over the rein in 2004.

Taibut’s record for the youngest captain was broken by Afghanistan allrounder Rashid Khan in September 2019 when he led his team against Ireland in a one-off Test at the age of 20 years and 350 days.

S. No Name Country Age
1 Rashid Khan Afghanistan 20y 350d
2 Tatenda Taibu Zimbabwe 20y 358d
3 Nawab of Pataudi India 21y 77d
4 Waqar Younis Pakistan 22y 15d
5 Graeme Smith South Africa 22y 82d
6 Shakib Al Hasan Bangladesh 22y 115d
7 Ian Craig Australia 22y 194d
8 Javed Miandad Pakistan 22y 260d
9 Murray Bisset South Africa 22y 306d
10 Mohammad Ashraful Bangladesh 22y 353d

Top-10 youngest captain in Test cricket’s history

However, his rise to captaincy coincided with a chaotic period in Zimbabwe’s cricket history with allegations of political interference.

But a players revolt in 2005 and negative press coverage at home forced him into stepping down as the captain and eventually he announced a shocking international retirement as well.

He made his international comeback in 2007 and five years later, aged 29 years, hung up his boots for the second and last time. In between, he also played in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders as a wicketkeeper-batsman despite the team already boasting of  Brendon McCullum and Wriddhiman Saha.

After quitting, he began focusing on his work with the church before enjoying spells as a national selector and cricket director with the Zimbabwe Cricket.