Olonga leaps to the defence of Harmison

Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:A staunch critic of the Zimbabwe government, controversial former paceman Henry Olonga today hailed England speedster Steve Harmison's decision to give the forthcoming tour of the African country a miss.

''I think it's a step that needs to be lauded. Not many sportsmen are willing to stick their neck out and take a strong position on political issues. Zimbabwe at the moment is a hot bed of controversy. I take my hat off to him,''Olonga said in London.

Earlier this year, Stuart MacGill had also pulled out of Australia's tour of Zimbabwe.

The shaggy-haired former quickie, has been at the vanguard of goading all the countries to boycott Zimbabwe in protest against the policy of the Robert Mugabe government, lamentedthat the cricket community in Zimbabwe would miss out on the opportuntiy to see world-class stars playing in front of them.

" It's sad and unfortunate that the cricket community in Zimbabwe won't be able to see these world-class stars performing. Mind you, Harmison is the in-form bowler for England at this point in time. I don't sit in judgment in any way over people who do go.If they want to focus on their career, that's fine. Most sportsmen don't want to get involved in those things and I don't have a hassle with that,'' added Olonga.

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