Olonga and Flower retire from international game

EAST LONDON (South Africa): Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga announced his retirement from international cricket yesterday after his team’s final match in the World Cup. 

Olonga, 26, was omitted from the Zimbabwe team for the final Super Six match against Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe, already eliminated from the tournament, lost by 74 runs. 

In a statement Olonga said his decision had been a matter of personal conviction and added he believed it might be dangerous for him to return to Zimbabwe in the current political climate. 

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 and teammate Andy Flower made international headlines when they took to the field wearing black armbands “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. The 34-year-old left-hander, who averaged more than 50 in Test cricket, top-scored with 38 yesterday in his final innings for his country. 

“It is with great sadness that I am officially announcing my retirement from international cricket,” Olonga continued. “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. 

In a statement yesterday, Flower said it had been an honour and privilege to represent his country for the past 13 years. 

“The decision had been a difficult and sad one to make,” he said. – Reuters 

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