Former Zimbabwe national cricket team fast-bowler Henry Olonga has mocked local cricket standards, suggesting that even a substandard player can make it into the national team.
Olonga was speaking following his audition at The Voice Australia on Monday night.
His latest comments could alienate him from cricket enthusiasts who previously had a soft spot for him.
He claimed that he had been a “rubbish cricket player” and one of the judges Guy Sebastian commented: “I don’t think you can be a rubbish cricket player and play for your country.”
“To play for Zimbabwe you can, trust me,” Olonga replied to much laughter from the studio audience.
Olonga left Zimbabwe during the 2003 International Cricket Council World Cup after he, together with Andy Flower, wore black armbands to protest “the death of democracy” in the country during President Robert Mugabe’s rule.
“I had to leave my country after standing up to a dictator,” Olonga told The Voice judges, who included Boy George and Kelly Rowland.
He added: “Cricket took me away from music, but I kept singing away and after retiring 15 years ago I decided to take it up again.”
“The good news is you’re not a rubbish singer, you’re an amazing singer and that was beyond,” Boy George told him.