Henry Olonga's book is out, should be an interesting read.
If I'm lucky somebody's going to post me a copy to review...I'll be nice. Promise.
Henry Olonga is Zimbabwe's first black player, has been a high-profile opponent of Robert Mugabe's regime and, alongside current England coach Andy Flower, made a public show of dissent against the President when the 2003 World Cup came to Zimbabwe.
The pair famously wore black armbands to "mourn the death of democracy" during a match against Namibia, an action which brought about Olonga's retirement at 26. Zimbabwe last played a Test match in 2005 after the majority of the team's first-choice players went on strike following a dispute with the national board.
But discussions are under way to restore them to the five-day game as early as next year and Olonga believes now is the time for reintegration.
"I think on the whole it is right for Zimbabwe to move forward," Olonga said at the launch of his new book on Thursday. It is a difficult decision for me to say that because on the one hand I have protested against countries playing in Zimbabwe and been very up front about that. But I think what Zimbabwe needs now is a slow and steady reintroduction to Test cricket. It's not as though whenever Mugabe is out of power, we can start talking about it the next day. By then it is too late. We are starting to play well in one-day cricket now so let's use this momentum and get to the stage where they are a competitive Test side in three or four years. The way forward is for Zimbabwe to play some of the lesser teams first and if we don't get beaten in two days then we are heading in the right direction."
Olonga admits he remains uneasy about Mugabe's role in Zimbabwe public life but he knows a return to Test action is essential to give cricket in the country a chance to prosper."I would whole-heartedly support reintroduction because I want Zimbabwe back playing Test cricket, but we still have the problem of Robert Mugabe," he said.
"How do you deal with a man who has presided over the destruction of his own country through his own flawed policies? It's painful compromise but I think Zimbabwe is on the mend. Certainly it is cricket-wise but politically there is still a long way to go. Nevertheless, I think positions are softening. Zimbabwe, to their credit, have put in place some reforms and they've got a lot of experienced players back.
"Alistair Campbell is back as convenor of selectors, Heath Streak is doing some work as bowling coach. I understand Grant Flower is thinking of going back as a coach and Dave Houghton is also back doing some work with them. That these people are considering going back into the game there helps other countries see that Zimbabwe cricket has a measure of legitimacy now."
My Two Cents: I don't know, much as I have maaad respek for de man dem, why are Heath, Alistair, Grant and Henry the mark of legitimacy? Has democracy suddenly been resurrected in Zimbabwe that they want to come back? Or is it a realisation that life goes on in Zim - Mugs or no Mugs, the hustle continues. As much as its nice to see these guys give support to the current team of fine players who've struggled to get to where they are now, I'm not entirely impressed, iCan't quite say what it is, but summink aint right. iAppreciate their calls in support of Zim playing Test Cricket, but the same people who protested against test cricket and were the catalysts in the mass exodus of the talent from cricket (Ok, 'cept 4 Heath Streak & Mluleki Mbangwa), now want us back in, really??? Asazi. Am iA H8r?
Current Zim Team,