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Friday, 21 March, 2003, 09:49 GMT

Olonga offered England base

Controversial Zimbabwe cricketer Henry Olonga could set up temporary home with his brother in England.

" Henry is not, and never will be, a charity case "
Victor Olonga

Fast bowler Olonga, who is currently in South Africa, is reluctant to return to his homeland for fear of reprisals following his protests against the national government during the Cricket World Cup.

Now there have been suggestions he could head for Cornwall, where his brother plays professional rugby union for Penzance and Newlyn RFC.

"Henry is my brother. I love him. My home is his home," said Victor Olonga.

"I am here for him. I admire his courage, strength and honesty, but I worry for him. I hope it is truly his stance and that others have not brought influence to bear.

"Henry is the one who is now suffering, frightened and suffering the consequences."

Olonga announced his retirement from international cricket following Zimbabwe's exit from the World Cup and has been banned by his club side.

Victor playing for Zimbabwe He claimed he had been offered a chance to play county cricket by Essex, but they have rejected any talk of a link-up with the fast bowler.

"There has been a certain amount of speculation recently concerning a possible link between the club and Zimbabwean Test bowler Henry Olonga," said Essex chief executive David East. This is totally unfounded."

Olonga and team-mate Andy Flower overshadowed Zimbabwe's opening World Cup match by issuing a statement condemning President Robert Mugabe's government and wearing black armbands to mark what they described as "the death of democracy".

Victor Olonga said he did not agree with the wording of his brother's statement and that he would be returning to Zimbabwe in May to play rugby.

"I'm captain of the Zimbabwe rugby team and I feel a responsibility," he told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"If the leader of Zimbabwe rugby, on the field, gives up, what message does that send?"



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Related to this story:

Olonga quits international cricket (15 Mar 03 |  Zimbabwe )
Olonga eyes musical career (17 Mar 03 |  Zimbabwe )
Olonga frozen out (28 Feb 03 |  Zimbabwe )
Olonga expelled from club (20 Feb 03 |  Zimbabwe )
Have Your Say on Zimbabwe (04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say )

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