Bulawayo: Zimbabwe batsman Andy Flower revealed on Wednesday that his controversial anti-Robert Mugabe protest will continue despite enormous pressure on him to abandon the gesture. Flower and teammate Henry Olonga both donned black armbands in their opening match against Namibia to mark what they described as the death of democracy in Zimbabwe and lashed out at the violence and famine which has ravaged the country.
"We have had meetings, been spoken to often by cricket authorities and received letters. But we are not going to back down. How can we?" Flower said on Wednesday. After being reported to the International Cricket Council (ICC) by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), and cleared of any wrongdoing, Flower toned down his protest to a black wristband in the team's second game against India in Harare. Olonga was dropped for that match and for the game with Australia in Bulawayo last Monday, while Flower continued to play.
Both men were summoned to a meeting of the ZCU last weekend where they warned to drop their protest or lose their places in the team. Flower was going to be dropped for the game against Australia until a group of senior players said they would not play in that match if the threat was carried out. Flower, one of the world's top batsmen, said his protest will now be represented by wearing white armbands. "We are standing up for what is right," he said.
Both men are available for selection against the Netherlands at the Queens Sports Club here on Friday but Olonga, who was sacked by his club last week, is still expected to be squeezed out by Andy Blignaut. Copyright AFP 2001