Henry Olonga: Blood Sweat and Treason

This book is an autobiography written by Henry Olonga, a Zimbabwean Cricketer. It follows the story of his life, and the one incident that would morph into his identity.

Most people know Olonga as the man that wore the black armband in a world cup cricket match to mourn the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. He did this despite the Zimbabwean player code which stated that players could not bring political views onto the field, and certainly not demonstrate the views on the field. The man he protested with was the Zimbabwean national captain, (and most valued player) named Andy Flower. Andy was white, Henry was black. Their move showed that both races were in union, and inspired all people in Zimbabwe to stand up to the oppressor, a certain Robert Mugabe.

The consequences of the two players actions were that they were both dropped and were forced to flee the country. They both moved to England after constant death threats from the Zimbabwean government directed at both the players and their families.

Maybe Henry is not the most classic of anti hero’s but I think the mixed reaction that Andy and Henry got from the rest of Zimbabwe drew great comparisons with those views that are commonly directed at the more classic anti heroes such as Donny Darko









In sport, the main objective is to succeed in what you specialize in. In Amateur sport, the way you do this is often by talent or by pure skill over theirs.In professional sport, however, it’s more about margins of error, the little things you do wrong, but mostly, confrontation. Confrontation, whether this be by sledging an opponent,or by going out of your comfort zone. When being attacked or confronted, the player doing so will always be looking at your strengths and weaknesses as a competitor. In sports like cricket and football, teams pay money for opponents to be analysed, to try and get an upper hand when coming up against them. One example of someone being analysed, would be, a footballer, people like Messi, get analysed all the time! What foot they use, signature tricks, stuff like that.

The one problem for me in this, is that everything gets a little mechanical. Thinking and common sense goes out the window. An example would be, the England cricket team playing South Africa last Summer. At that time, there was a lot of hype going on in the media about it being the no.1 series, as whoever won would go top of the world rankings. As a consequence of this there was a lot of analytical work put in to each South African batsmen about where they we most prone to getting out to, where their comfort areas were. The 1st test was played at the Oval cricket ground in London. The bowlers knew there plans right away, but didn’t make use of the natural resources around them. Great swinging conditions that could of taken the wickets of the under prepared South African batsmen were not utilized as the bowlers bowled in areas that troubled the batsmen in the past in different conditions and different circumstances.

On this occasion the South African batsmen prevailed and England’s hopes of winning the match were left in shatters by Hashim Amla scoring a mammoth 311* as South Africa romped to victory securing the No.1 spot in the world rankings.

One other thing England didn’t take notice of was that the margin of error for some of the targets were very short, and that batsmen can adapt too. A great example of this would be Graeme Smith. Through out his career he has be shown to be tentative outside his off stump. He is a human, and has a brain, so he quickly worked out that he could cut off he angle be moving outside off stump then hitting through leg side. Although these are professional sportsman, they do have some margin for error. An example would be Joe Root, his weakness is just on his legs, but the margin for error is quite high, the angle carries the ball further down the leg side, he can leave it for a wise or easily flick it for 4.

Also, going around the county circuit is this philosophy about comfort zones. The standard philosophy is simple really. The more you come out of your comfort zone, and confront more challenging situations, the more your comfort zone will expand. Another way of putting is your stretch, and skills , your most important is your stretch to expand.

By  Henry Howeld