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Andy no more an overseas pro

London: Andy Flower, the former Zimbabwe captain who quit international cricket after the World Cup, has signed a new two-year deal at Essex as an English-qualified player.

Flower, 35, whose black-armband protest with Henry Olonga against president Robert Mugabe made headlines in February and March, has played the last two seasons as an overseas player for the county.

David East, Essex’s chief executive, told the club’s website on Friday that Flower had been a “model overseas player” for the team. Flower, a British passport holder through his marriage, has scored 1,000 runs in both his seasons with Essex.

He had an outstanding ten-year Test career with Zimbabwe, hitting 4,794 runs from 63 matches for an average of 51.54. He was voted a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2002. Flower and Olonga were protesting against the controversial land reforms of Mugabe and other measures which they said impinged on democratic freedoms within Zimbabwe.

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