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Olonga, man of principle, hits town

ZIMBABWEAN rebel cricketer Henry Olonga has arrived in Maidstone to play for the county town's for star-studded side Lashings.

Olonga, dropped by his home country after wearing a black armband during a match to protest at President Robert Mugabe's regime, flew in to England from South Africa and was driven straight to Maidstone.

He was greeted by Lashings boss David Folb, who has worked feverishly to obtain a work permit for the charismatic fast bowler.

Olonga, the first black cricketer to play for his country, said just hours after arriving that he was looking forward to getting to know Maidstone.

He would be commentating on radio during Zimbabwe's tour of England, starting in June, and also planned medical treatment on a knee injury before turning out for Lashings.

"I'm going to be getting my bearings for a while," said Olonga, who went into hiding in South Africa during last month's Cricket World Cup.

Olonga and team-mate Andy Flower had worn black armbands and wristbands "to mourn the death of democracy" in Zimbabwe's first two Cup matches in February in Zimbabwe before being asked to stop by the international cricket authorities.

Folb is putting together an international cricket team to play home matches at Sutton Valence School this summer and a match against Kent has also been organised.

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