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Non-white trio set to join Zimbabwe rebels

Three non-white players are set to join the group of 15 white cricketers who have been sacked by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, after speaking out about sacking of the captain Heath Streak, and the political interference that is undermining the national selection process.

"This is not a black and white issue," reiterated Grant Flower, one of the rebels, in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. "We are in discussion with some of the black players. They are willing to side with us but the timing has to be right." The three players in question are thought to be the fast bowlers Douglas Hondo and Mluleki Nkala, and the opening batsman, Dion Ebrahim.

Those three players are among the most experienced members of the 14-man squad to play Sri Lanka, that was announced on Thursday. So far, no black player has dared to speak out about the events of the past week, although Henry Olonga, who was forced out of the country after his black-armband protest during last year's World Cup, described the situation as "horrendous, disgusting, and very sad" in The Observer newspaper.

"It is a loss Zimbabwean cricket cannot afford," added Olonga. "It is an opportunity for the militant faction in the ZCU to get rid of those guys and that's why it looks so sinister to me. It appears as if they waited for someone to slip up, and as soon as Streak made those demands, he was fired. Any reasonable person will realise that they have been targeted because they are white. Racism cuts both ways."