Olonga granted extended refuge in Britain
LONDON: Former Zimbabwe Test fast bowler Henry Olonga was on Wednesday granted a five-year visa to remain in Britain.
The 27-year-old Olonga hit the headlines at the World Cup in South Africa earlier this year when he and team-mate Andy Flower staged a black armband protest against the government of Robert Mugabe, mourning the “death of democracy” in their country. Olonga fled to England after the World Cup after receiving e-mailed threats. He and Flower were awarded life membership of the MCC last week in recognition of their stand against Mugabe’s regime. “I’m not sure if and when I’ll return to Zimbabwe. If the current regime stays in power, then I’ve got no chance,” said Olonga, who is now planning a musical career. “If things were to change, it may well be that I won’t stay here all that time - but I will plan my life as if I’m going to be here for those five years.”
Olonga is due to undergo knee surgery later this month and believes he may never play first-class cricket again. “I’ve torn about a square centimetre of cartilage which is floating around in my knee,” he told the BBC Sport website. “It’s got to be taken out and then they’ve got to find the source. The specialist reckons it’s from the back of my knee but he can’t say how bad the damage is until he goes in. “My knee is the latest in a whole string of injuries that have spanned my career. I’m 27 and I’m starting to feel 40.” —AFP