Henry Olonga, the former Zimbabwean cricketer, will be Haileybury’s guest speaker on Speech Day, 28 May 2011.
Henry made his international debut in a Test match against Pakistan at Harare in 1995, at age 18 years, 212 days, becoming the youngest player to represent Zimbabwe. He helped Zimbabwe to its first ever Test victory in that game. That year, he was no-balled for throwing in a Test match, and rebuilt his action before returning to cricket. A right arm fast bowler, Olonga was the first black cricketer to play for Zimbabwe and is the third Zambian-born Test cricketer after Phil Edmonds and Neal Radford of England.
Olonga achieved international recognition (along with team mate Andy Flower) in 2003 by wearing a black armband in a Cricket World Cup match to protest against the policies of Zimbabwe’s government, led by Robert Mugabe.
This act led to a warrant issued in Zimbabwe for Olonga’s arrest on charges of treason (which carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe) and forced him to retire from international cricket and temporarily go into hiding.
Olonga played 30 Test matches for Zimbabwe, taking 68 wickets with a bowling average of 38.52, and 50 One Day Internationals, taking 58 wickets at an average of 34.08. He holds the record for the best bowling in a One Day International by a Zimbabwean, with figures of 6/19 against England at Cape Town in 2000.