India relieved about Englands decision to play in Zim

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 20:51 [IST]
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New Delhi: England's decision to play its World Cup match in Zimbabwe next month drew a sigh of relief from Indian officials on Wednesday - and it had nothing to do with their love for the African country. The Indians were worried that if both Australia and England skipped their engagements in Zimbabwe, thereby forfeiting full points, the race for the Super Six stage would have been further complicated in a tough group.

India is drawn with defending champions Australia, England, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Namibia and the Netherlands in what is being called the 'group of death' at the World Cup. Of these seven teams, only three will qualify for the Super Six stage. "Had Australia and England forfeited their matches, Zimbabwe would have bagged eight points and almost certainly have qualified by beating both lowly Namibia and the Netherlands," an Indian official said.

"That would have left Australia, India, Pakistan and England battling for the remaining two berths. It would have been a deadly scramble." Saurav Ganguly's Indian team is currently recovering from a disastrous tour of New Zealand, where it was blanked 2-0 in the Test series and lost the One-day series 5-2.

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