Johannesburg: England said on Sunday it was postponing a decision on whether to play its World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tim Lamb announced the postponement at a press conference at the team's Cape Town hotel. "Specific information the ECB has been seeking for several days regarding the safety and security of the England players and officials in regard to their visit to Zimbabwe came to light earlier today (Sunday)," Lamb said.
"This information has confirmed the concerns of the ECB that we have had regarding safety and security in Zimbabwe. "An announcement with regard to whether the England team will travel to Harare to fulfill the fixture has, therefore, been delayed until the new information that has come to light has been formally communicated to the ICC (International Cricket Council) and its response has been received." "This announcement will be made as soon as practicable," Lamb said. He added the team would remain in Cape Town for at least another 24 hours pending further developments and would hold a practice session on Monday.
Neither Lamb nor ECB chairman David Morgan, who was sat alongside him, took questions from reporters citing "legal and contractual" reasons, at a conference delayed nearly seven hours from its scheduled 10.30am local time (0830GMT) start. Players' representative Richard Bevan, was also present. He said he had refused an offer to see a copy of the ICC-commissioned report from American security firm Kroll, which concluded that it was safe for the six World Cup matches in Zimbabwe and two in Kenya to go ahead. But Bevan, managing director of England's Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), said a condition of his seeing the report was that he signed a confidentiality agreement.
"I refused as I wouldn't be allowed to divulge information to the players," Bevan said. He then added to the confusion surrounding the source of England's latest security fears by saying, "I received information from an unknown person and this stated that there were some intelligence issues that were not recorded in the document in case they got into public domain." One of those was the 'hoax' death threat against the players, revealed earlier on Sunday. Bevan added there were four other issues but said, "I can't talk about them."
| Copyright AFP 2001 |