Retired Olonga tunes in on singing career

LONDON: Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga is hoping to begin a new career in music after retiring from international cricket at the weekend. 

Olonga, who claims his life is in danger if he returns home following his high-profile anti-Robert Mugabe protest during the World Cup, has also been offered a contract to join fellow exiled teammate Andy Flower playing county cricket with Essex. 

But the 26-year-old told The Times newspaper that he wanted to explore new avenues. 

Olonga, who has already releasd a CD in Zimbabwe, is keen to build a singing career and is hoping to link up with composer Barrington Pheloung, who wrote the score for the highy-rated television series Inspector Morse. 

“Barrington offered me a contract to work with him on our last tour of England in 2000 after he'd heard me sing on the BBC,” Olonga said. 

Olonga quit international cricket on Saturday following Zimbabwe's exit from the World Cup but said his and Flower's high-profile black armband protest against the Harare regime had put his life in danger. 

It was reported that members of the Zimbabwe secret police had even flown to East London in South Africa, where the team played its last game against Sri Lanka, ready to arrest Olonga on a charge of treason. 

He has remained in South Africa, but insists he will be on the move again very soon. 

“I'm hooking up with a friend here, but if necessary I'll keep moving as you never know,” he said. 

“You have to remember that the ANC and Zanu-PF are bed-fellows. I'll only feel completely safe once I get to England.” 

Olonga's comments brought a stinging rebuke from the African National Congress, who accused him of being “ill-informed and delusional.” 

“While he may be an accomplished cricketer, Olonga clearly knows nothing about the constitutional and political environment in South Africa, nor of the nature of international inter-party relations,” said an ANC statement. 

“His suggestion that his life could be in danger in South Africa is insulting. Olonga is either delusional or supremely ill-informed. – AFP 

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