Mark Vermeulen: Newquay sign former Zimbabwe batsman

Mark Vermeulen
Mark Vermeulen's highest Test score was 118 against the West Indies in November 2003

Ex-Zimbabwe Test player Mark Vermeulen, banned from all cricket by his national body for making racist comments, has signed for Cornish club side Newquay.

Vermeulen, 36, who played nine Tests and 43 one-day internationals, will be the club's overseas player this summer.

The batsman described black people as "apes" in a social media post in 2015.

"We should embrace his cricketing abilities, embrace the positives and not the negatives," Newquay chairman of selectors Godfrey Furse said.

His ban in 2015 was the latest incident in a controversial career, with Vermeulen banned for a year by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2006 after an altercation with a spectator at a Central Lancashire League club match.

He also admitted burning down Zimbabwe's cricket academy in 2006, but was acquitted of an arson charge on the grounds of mental illness.

"They found a misfiring in the left hemisphere of my brain, which caused a temporary insanity. It was a relief, knowing that it wasn't total madness," he told BBC Sport in 2014.

Mark Vermeulen
Vermeulen has twice suffered a fractured skull during his career

Furse hopes that Vermeulen will now be allowed to get on with his career and help the Cornish club, and other players in the region, improve their cricket.

"I think it'll be very good for Newquay Cricket Club and very good for youngsters to see how a proper professional prepares for games and plays," he told BBC Sport.

"The knowledge he can pass on can be invaluable.

"Signing players of this calibre is much better than signing players form overseas who are no better than people we have already got.

"I hope the general public will appreciate the fact that they will have a quality cricketer to go and watch on a Saturday afternoon rather than some of the overseas disappointments that come here and don't perform."

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