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Last Updated:  Saturday, 15 March, 2003, 15:52 GMT
Olonga quits international cricket
Henry Olonga
Olonga was reprimanded for publicly criticising Mugabe's regime
Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga has retired from international cricket.

The 26-year-old made the announcement on Saturday, at the end of Zimbabwe's final match of the World Cup.

In a statement Olonga said his decision had been a matter of personal conviction.

He added he believed it might be dangerous for him to return to Zimbabwe in the current political climate.

I have received threatening e-mails which, I believe, make it dangerous for me to return to Zimbabwe
Henry Olonga

He also said he did not want to be seen to condone what he called human rights abuses in his country by continuing to play cricket for the national side.

Olonga said: "My continued involvement with the Zimbabwean team has become untenable.

"The stand I took earlier in the World Cup has undoubtedly had repercussions that have affected both my career and my personal life.

"I have received threatening e-mails which, I believe, make it dangerous for me to return to Zimbabwe.

"I was never under the illusion that my stand would have no consequences but I believe that one should have the courage of one's convictions in life and do all one can to uphold them.

"I believe that if I were to continue to play for Zimbabwe in the midst of the prevailing crisis I would do so only by neglecting the voice of my conscience."

Olonga and team-mate Andy Flower made international headlines when they took to the field wearing black armbands.

They wore them "to mourn the death of democracy" in Zimbabwe for their first match of the World Cup in Harare.

Flower, Zimbabwe's best batsman and one of the finest in the world, announced his retirement from the international stage on Friday night.





Links to more Zimbabwe stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
Zimbabwe's Henry Olonga
"I feel returning to Zimbabwe may be dangerous"



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