Johannesburg: England's bid to have its opening World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare next Thursday moved to South Africa is set to go down to the wire. On Thursday, the tournament's technical committee unanimously rejected England's request for the game to be moved to main hosts South Africa. But England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tim Lamb said it was exercising its right under World Cup rules to make a final appeal to independent commissioner Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa.
"We have given notice of our intention to appeal. We're disappointed with the decision but we hope the commissioner will see the strength of our arguments," Lamb said. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said that the final appeal could be heard as early as Friday with Sachs, one of the tournament's three independent commissioners, sitting alone. A decision is expected soon afterwards as ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed has repeatedly said the minimum amount of time needed to switch venues is four days.
Should England be foiled again in its attempt to have the match switched it will have to consider its next move. It can either play the match or forfeit the fixture and be docked four World Cup points and risk a substantial fine imposed by the ICC for breaking it contractual obligation to play the match.