London: Former England captain David Gower has said that England and Australia should refuse to play their World Cup fixtures in Zimbabwe next year.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has ruled that the matches scheduled to take place in Harare and Bulawayo should go ahead despite the current political and economic unrest in the country.Gower said that while he agreed that the safety angle was not an issue, he said that England and Australia should take a moral stand against Robert Mugabe's government.
Gower is opposed to Mugabe's policy of evicting white farmers from their land, both from the humanitarian standpoint and because he feels it will ultimately have an adverse affect on the country's wildlife population."I don't think it is right that England should be playing a match in Harare on February 13, 2003, or on any other day while the Robert Mugabe regime remains in power in Zimbabwe," Gower wrote in his column in The Sunday Times."Nor do I think the Australians, as the other main Commonwealth nation involved in the same World Cup group, should honour its fixture in Bulawayo 11 days later."I don't often allow myself to be dragged into the political arena, but there is something about this situation that makes me angry.
I know Zimbabwe well enough to be aware of the immense injustice there."The government alone has the power to initiate a decision, and if British sport is to be seen to have any soul, or even the British nation, then the government must advise the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to seek permission to play the match elsewhere."
| Copyright AFP 2001 |