Former Zimbabwe Test player Henry Olonga to support Thetford Cricket Club open day

Henry Olonga of Zimbabwe appeals during the World Cup Super Six One Day International between Kenya

Henry Olonga of Zimbabwe appeals during the World Cup Super Six One Day International between Kenya and Zimbabwe held on March 12, 2003 at Goodyear Park in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Kenya won the match by 7 wickets. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

Former Zimbabwe Test and One Day International ace Henry Olonga is heading to Thetford Town as part of the cricket club’s upcoming open day.

The former fast bowler, who took 68 wickets in 30 Test matches for the African nation, will be part of the open day at Mundford Road on Saturday, August 9.

The open day is part of a nationwide ECB Club Open Day initiative to help boost grassroots cricket participation.

The club is inviting all local cricket fans and people who are interested in finding out more about the club, to head along to the ground for the day to watch some cricket, get involved in a range of taster sessions and enjoy some food and drink, in a bid to entice new members to sign-up.

Thetford Town CC chairman Keith Greyson said: “We struggle to entice new cricketers to our club and are inviting people to find out more about us and enjoy our facilities for the day.

“Whether they just want a drink or two, or perhaps they are interested in taking a more active role in our club – they’ll be made most welcome.”

Building on the successful launch of the initiative last year, clubs that host an official ECB Club Open Day will be taking advantage of an £100 food and drink offer from new England cricket team sponsor Waitrose to help deliver their event.

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Former England captain and ECB’s managing director of cricket partnerships, Mike Gatting, says: “Club Open Days represent a unique opportunity for cricket clubs to capitalise on the public interest in England’s international summer.

“By opening their doors and showcasing what they have to offer to their local community, clubs will hopefully be able to inspire newcomers to come and join them – whether that is as a player, volunteer, social member, or even a local business as a new supporting sponsor.”

Thetford runs up to four adult teams every weekend during the cricket season and also runs a midweek competition on a Wednesday evening and a junior section on Friday evenings.

It is Olonga who is set to provide the star attraction though, in what should prove a fun day for the club.

Now aged 38, Olonga was the first black cricketer and youngest-ever player to represent Zimbabwe at international level. He regularly bowled upwards of 80mph and finished his career with a total of 156 wickets in first-class matches.

Greyson also added: “Henry will be taking part in some coaching sessions, umpiring a junior match, playing in the Specsavers Invitational T/20 Charity match & during the tea interval entertaining the crowd with his famous vocals.”