Bradman would have considered Zimbabwe boycott: Son

Published: Friday, January 10, 2003, 20:47 [IST]
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Sydney: Cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman would have wanted Australia to consider the fate of Zimbabwe's people in deciding whether its cricket team should play there during the World Cup, his son said. John Bradman told Friday's 'The Daily Telegraph' newspaper that while the International Cricket Council (ICC) has said a decision on whether to play in troubled Zimbabwe should be made solely on issues of player safety, Sir Donald believed politics needed to be a factor in such matters.

"It's particularly clear that the basis of his thinking about this had two grounds, the well being of the cricketers and the well being of cricket," he said. "I think if he were looking at this today he would say, 'Well, there is a lot of focus on the safety of the players, and rightly so, but perhaps more focus should be on the bigger issues'," John Bradman said. The Australian, British and New Zealand governments have all opposed going ahead with World Cup matches in Zimbabwe on the grounds this would be viewed as support for the regime of President Robert Mugabe.

The three governments have all backed sanctions against Mugabe in response to violence and fraud surrounding his 2002 re-election and his policy of forcibly taking land from white farmers. But the ICC and the countries' national cricketing bodies have decided to go ahead with the matches. Australia is due to play a One-day match in Bulawayo in March. Most matches in the February-March World Cup will be held in South Africa, with a few games scheduled for Zimbabwe and Kenya.

The late Sir Donald was chairman of the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) when it cancelled an invitation for the South African team to tour in 1971 due to that country's apartheid regime. John Bradman is normally reticent to speak to the media but said he believed his father would have wanted him to speak out on the issue of Zimbabwe.

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