London: English cricket chiefs are considering asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a special exemption to allow its World Cup match in Zimbabwe to be moved to South Africa. England's cricket chiefs will argue that its tournament-opening match against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13 is especially sensitive because of the "historical ties between the two countries".
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tim Lamb said on Monday, "We might be able to argue that there is a special case and request having the fixture against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa." His comments came after a statement issued on behalf of the England team asked that the match against Zimbabwe be moved to South Africa, which is hosting the majority of the World Cup matches.
England players' spokesman Richard Bevan said, "The players urge all parties to move the fixture to South Africa and pay the Zimbabwe Cricket Union appropriate compensation." Bevan also said the England players were "greatly concerned by the moral, political and safety issues that the fixture in Zimbabwe has raised".
So far the ICC has insisted that, despite political pressure, it will not move matches from Zimbabwe in protest at the regime of President Robert Mugabe. It is due to reconsider Zimbabwe's host status at an executive board meeting on Friday. On Monday, ICC's Australian chief executive Malcolm Speed rejected the England players' plea.