Zimbabwe news August 21, 2010

Bvute urges Olonga to return to Zimbabwe

Cricinfo staff

Zimbabwe Cricket's managing director, Ozias Bvute, has invited former Zimbabwe cricketer Henry Olonga to return to the country and help with efforts to re-affirm Zimbabwe's standing in world cricket. "Henry remains a hero to so many young kids in this country and I still hope he will change his mind and return to his country of birth and help with our cricket renaissance," said Bvute.

Olonga, along with Andy Flower, famously protested against the Mugabe regime during the 2003 World Cup, and was subsequently dropped - being kicked off the team bus at the World Cup by Bvute himself - but has recently called for renewed cricketing ties with his country.

He did, however, state that he still had some concerns about those running cricket in the country, saying ""We still have the issue of slightly suspicious gentlemen running the sport. I don't really trust the man [Bvute] but he's shown a genuine desire to re-engage with some of the former players."

But Bvute has urged Olonga to put the past behind him and return to the Zimbabwe Cricket fold. "He has been much in the limelight recently promoting his book and he has said a couple of peculiar things about us," said Bvute. "I just wish we could meet and talk about the issues he still has with Zimbabwe Cricket.

"The 2003 World Cup was a long time ago and Zimbabwe Cricket has been through some tough times since then. I know he was angry, but we can resolve that. Lots of us were angry in Zimbabwe Cricket but we have emerged stronger, wiser and more determined than ever.

"We really appreciate Henry's words of encouragement regarding returning to Test cricket but I can't understand why he would rule out a return to Zimbabwe, even just for a couple of visits. Why would he burn bridges?

"He will always be a role model, someone for youngsters to look up to, and we'd love to see him back - in whatever capacity. He left the country and retired from cricket under extremely unfortunate circumstances but, as far as we are concerned, we'd like to put the past behind us and move on to a brighter future."