ACB likely to call off tour of Zimbabwe

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2002, 17:25 [IST]
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Melbourne: Australia may yet cancel next month's tour of Zimbabwe, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) admitted on Tuesday, after the African country was thrown out of the Commonwealth for a year.

ACB spokesman Brendan McClements said the ACB was taking advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "What we've consistently said about Zimbabwe is that we are taking the best possible advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and other people to give us a clear understanding of what's happening there," McClements said. "But no decision has been taken to change our minds at this stage." Foreign Minister Alexander Downer last week warned the players would be at risk if they continued with the tour and said it would send the wrong signals to President Robert Mugabe's government. Downer said that as Prime Minister John Howard had played a leading role in Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth, the players could become targets. But McClements said the players were keen to go. "The situation for us is that it is obviously difficult and every day we review our decision but at this stage no decision has been made to change our minds." The Australian One-day side is currently playing in South Africa before it is joined by the Test side for the Zimbabwe leg of the tour, which involves three One-dayers and two Tests from April 10. Australia's Test side was to have been announced on Friday but the 'Australian' newspaper said the ACB may call of the tour on Wednesday.

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