Sean Ervine to make Australia his home

Published: Monday, May 17, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Perth:Zimbabwean cricket refugee Sean Ervine took his first tentative steps in Perth on Monday towards ensuring the next time he mingles with Australian Test players at an airport it won't be to say goodbye.

Ervine, who arrived in Perth last Saturday after crossing paths with the Australians as they arrived at Harare airport for what seems likely to be a horribly one-sided Test series, made his first formal moves towards becoming an Australian citizen.

The talented 21-year-old all-rounder and 14 of his white colleagues were forced out of the Zimbabwean Test squad under a new policy which discriminates in favour of black players.

All had their contracts terminated after speaking out against the decision by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

The turmoil forced the hand of the youngster who was due to meet with officials from the Western Australian state team in perth on Monday to discuss his possible inclusion in that squad.

Ervine said several Zimbabwean players had been approached by overseas teams, including one offer from the Tasmanian state side, although he did not say who was targeted or if there was any interest.

He said Australia offered him a new beginning both as a player and as person, rating Perth his favourite city.

His long-term aim was to make the Australian team and hoped to take his first steps by securing a place with Western Australia, which competes in the highly-competitive domestic Sheffield Shield competition.

"Life as a player has just passed for me in Zimbabwe," he said.

"You've got to start afresh and that's what I plan to do - work myself up the ladder and make sure my spell there was worthwhile.

"Playing for Australia in the future is a long, long way away. If it comes one day then so be it but I've got to make sure I get everything sorted out first and then work my way up."

Ervine and his partner Melissa Marsh, the daughter of former Australian batsman Geoff Marsh who now coaches Zimbabwe, met immigration agents to discuss citizenship and a permanent move to Perth.

He plans to apply for permanent residency status in Australia either by virtue of his cricketing talent or his defacto relationship with Marsh.

"It was always something which I was going to do in the future, but obviously with the cricket situation back at home it made my decision come a bit quicker," Ervine said.

"I gave in my retirement letter about three hours before they had an emergency board meeting at which they terminated all our contracts."

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