Zimbabe cricket crisis August 26, 2005

Olonga : Zimbabwe ban would be 'too late'

Cricinfo staff

Olonga: 'Attention only comes when something drastic happens in Zimbabwe.' © Getty Images
Henry Olonga, the former Zimbabwe fast bowler, has criticised the British government's call for his country to be banned from international cricket, saying that such a move is "too late."

The ICC is presently meeting in Dubai and will consider the call for a ban, after British ministers wrote asking for Zimbabwe to be excluded because of human rights abuses. But Olonga is of the opinion that something should have been done much earlier. "The rest of the world has just sat by and watched this tragedy unfold," Olonga told BBC Radio Five Live. "It's almost like they're waiting for something massive to happen before they intervene. I think yes, it's too late."

Olonga said that the call to ban Zimbabwe from international cricket was hardly new. "The controversy surrounding Zimbabwe cricket has been raging for many years," he said. "When I first came to England in 2003, Zimbabwe had a tour of England and the question of whether Zimbabwe should be involved in international cricket was being asked back then. "But I think the media attention only comes when something drastic happens in Zimbabwe."

Roy Bennett, an official with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe said that the world's cricket authorities should stand by the people of Zimbabwe. "That cricket (in Zimbabwe) is being broadcast across the world projects normality," he said. "There are people being abused, having their lives taken away from them, and they (the ECB) need to stand by those people. The players, the ECB, the ICC, those countries' cricket boards - they all need to stand together in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe by speaking out against what's happened in Zimbabwe."