Zimbabwe turns flashlight on hospitality for the English

Published: Saturday, February 8, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Cape Town: England players and officials were locked in talks late on Friday, which could have serious implications on their World Cup campaign after they failed in their final, desperate bid to have their controversial clash with Zimbabwe moved away from Harare. Meanwhile Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) president Peter Chingoka insisted there was "no bad blood" between the teams despite his outright hostility towards England's relocation bid.

"It's important for the tournament to proceed without interruption," Chingoka said. "But there is no bad blood between ourselves and the ECB. "We're looking forward to welcoming England with African hospitality." And Sachs warned Zimbabwe that, despite his ruling, it now carried the "enormous responsibility" of ensuring the safety of everyone at Thursday's match.

"Serious political and economic issues have arisen in Zimbabwe, to which it would be wrong to turn a blind eye," Sachs insisted 24 hours after the World Cup event technical committee turned down England's first formal appeal. "The world will be watching the situation keenly. "An enormous responsibility rests upon the shoulders of all concerned in Zimbabwe to ensure that the scheduled game is played in safety and in good spirit. "Not only must the players be protected, but also the spectators." Sachs' decision is set to have implications for all the six World Cup matches due to be staged in Zimbabwe and possibly the two fixtures in Kenya where New Zealand has refused to travel on safety grounds.

Sachs, explaining his decision, said, "Having heard the appeal I have not been persuaded that the decision of the technical committee (to insist the match takes place in Harare) was wrong. "This appeal does not raise or deal in any way with the consequences of the ECB and the England players not to play in Zimbabwe. These are matters for the ECB and the players."

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