ZIMBABWE senior cricket team batting coach Grant Flower has paid glowing tribute to former national side wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu describing him as "a true gentleman" whose influential role in the domestic game will be missed.
Taibu made a shock announcement in April that he was quitting the game to pursue a religious career in Christian Ministry.
His decision to leave the national game remains one of the lowest points for Zimbabwe in 2012 as he left at a time when both the national team and the domestic franchise cricket thought they would reap the benefits of his 11 years international experience.
Yesterday national team bating coach Grant Flower, who also played alongside Taibu for Zimbabwe added his voice on the diminutive wicketkeeper's decision to quit the game.
In interview aired on Star FM, Flower who is also the coach of franchise outfit Midwest Rhinos said it was unfortunate that Taibu had decided to leave the game when it needed his experience but reckoned that the enigmatic former batsmen would not change his heart and bounce back to the game.
At 29 Taibu was at the ripe age to play another leading role in Zimbabwe's bid to revive their Test cricket.
Taibu was also the first black captain of the national team and Flower said he was hopeful that many young cricketers would continue to derive inspiration from the former skipper's exploits.
"He is a great guy, a really good cricketer, he is a role model. He's always been a perfect gentleman and obviously he's played some really good cricket for Zimbabwe suits a pity he is not gonna be around anymore.
"He's made his choices, he has reasons and we are not going to hold him back," Flower said.
Flower however, said Taibu would leave a trail of fond memories for those who worked with him or saw him play.
"I think people will just remember him as a gentleman, very good cricketer and a very good batter and a very tidy keeper with abundance of energy.
He's hardly ever been dropped, he has always been in the make up, an inspiring cricketer, hopefully people will follow his footsteps," Flower said.
Asked whether he had had thought Taibu would one day sacrifice his cricket for Christian Ministry, Flower said he had somehow seen it coming.
"I thought he might but I didn't think he would do it now but I thought definitely he was looking into that, he has spent a lot of energy doing that, putting a lot of work into religious aspects. He's looked a bit disturbed and he has also been unlucky with injuries to his fingers, I suppose as you get older those things happen".
Flower also felt that Taibu still had a lot to offer to the game despite more than a decade of international experience. He definitely had a lot more to come, a lot of people only mature in their 30s in cricket but I don't see him coming back absolutely no chance," said Flower.
Taibu's departure has certainly left the game poorer but as Flower put it life in the sport needed to move on.
It has certainly been moving on for Zimbabwe international Kyle Jarvis who grabbed three wickets to help his side Central Districts claim their first win in four games in the New Zealand domestic Twenty20 match at the weekend.
Jarvis was a key figure in the field for the winners as Northern were dismissed for 143 with seven balls remaining to hand Central a 43-run victory.
The Mashonaland Eagles man took 3-39 and executed the run out of Northern top scorer Scott Styris, who lacked support during his 77 off 47 balls.
Also effective with the ball for Central were spinner Tarun Nethula (2-24) and pace bowler Adam Milne (2-31) off their full allotment of overs.
Batsmen Matthew Sinclair and Will Young laid the foundations for Central with a good batting performance.
Veteran Sinclair struck 71 off 52 balls and New Zealand under-19 captain Young scored 57 off just 29 on his home ground of Pukekura Park on Saturday as the pair combined for a 111-run third-wicket stand in Central's 186-4.
Central lodged their first win in four matches to climb off the bottom of the competition standings while Northern slip from the top courtesy of a second loss in six games, allowing Wellington to take the lead on net run rate.
Jarvis who played again in the New Zealand twenty20 tournament last season featured in his first match this season against Wellington Firebirds last week. Despite finishing wicket-less he was the most frugal of the Central bowlers at nine runs an over.
Meanwhile, promising young cricketer Artwell Nyambanje has been offered a place in New Zealand at the Bracewell Cricket Academy to improve his skills over a six months period.
The Mid West Rhinos all-rounder however, has not been able to leave on time as he is currently facing difficulties to raise the air tickets. The offer was from October 1, 2012 and will run until March 30 2013. Nyambanje feels the once in a life-time opportunity is slowly slipping through his fingers and is appealing to well-wishers to come to his rescue to attend the remaining months. The academy's director Brendon Bracewell said this was a good opportunity for Nyambanje to improve his skills through exposure to international techniques.
"This experience will allow Artwell to both improve and display his cricket skills in NZ which will certainly assist him with future opportunities for cricket playing in New Zealand and worldwide.
He is a promising young cricketer who has represented Midwest Rhinos at list A level," said Bracewell.
Nyambanje made his List A debut for Midwest Rhinos in January last year. He also plays club cricket for Kadoma Cricket Club. His best performance was when he took six wickets against Kwekwe Cricket Club and scored 96 runs.