Sydney: The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) said on Friday it was confident safety and security issues in Zimbabwe were sufficient for Australia to play a World Cup cricket match in Bulawayo next February.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Thursday that Zimbabwe would co- host the tournament next February and March with South Africa and Kenya following a fact-finding trip last month. A 14-strong delegation, including the chief executives of seven of the ten ICC member countries, visited Harare and Bulawayo and reported no need to relocate the matches because of safety and security.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to stage six matches when the tournament gets underway on February 8, although the bulk of fixtures will take place in South Africa, with two also set to be played in Kenya. Seven countries -- Australia, England, Holland, India, Namibia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe -- are due to play World Cup games in Bulawayo and Harare in February and March. The ACB said on Friday it supported the ICC's decision. "We've seen the decision (by the ICC) and we support the decision," ACB public affairs general manager Peter Young said on Friday.
ACB chief executive James Sutherland and Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief executive Tim May were part of the ICC tour, Young said. Defending champions Australia had earlier expressed concern about playing in Zimbabwe. A tour of the African nation was called off in March after the Australian government advised its citizens not to travel there because of fears over election violence.
"We'll be moving ahead with our World Cup plans which include an Australia-Zimbabwe fixture in Bulawayo on February 24," Young said. "The first priority for the Australian team is obviously their safety and security. We are confident safety and security are assured."