London: With the political unrest in Zimbabwe showing no signs of abating, the country is set to lose the opportunity to co-host the cricket World Cup in 2003.
With the British and Australian governments expected to discourage their teams from playing in strife-torn Zimbabwe, the six matches scheduled to be held there, might be re-located in South Africa, Ali Bacher, the tournament director has indicated. "There should be no problem about switching venues. South Africa has the capacity and we can switch overnight if necessary," Bacher, who has had discussions with the International Cricket Council in this regard, was quoted as saying in the 'Sunday Times'.
"We will endeavour to keep games in Zimbabwe, but it may be beyond our control," Bacher said. "If the situation gets worse in Zimbabwe, it will be difficult for the British government to send its team there. My information is that the situation will deteriorate," he said adding that he believed the views of the British, Australian and South African governments would be decisive. "The ICC now seems to have given up on Zimbabwe staging World Cup matches," the newspaper observed.
ICC'S security unit, led by Lord Paul Condon, has carried out security checks at all South Africa's World Cup venues but there were no plans to do the same in Zimbabwe. Condon said his team was looking to go there "later in the year". World Cup starts on February 9 with the first match scheduled to be held between South Africa and the West Indies.