Asia set to strenuously object Zim match switch: Sources

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2003, 5:35 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Teams from Asia will block any move to shift England's World Cup match against Zimbabwe out of Harare, sources said on Tuesday, leaving world cricket in danger of a split down the middle. England has said it will not go to Harare for Thursday's match due to security reasons and want the match to be rescheduled to a venue in South Africa later in the tournament.

But India and Pakistan, who have no problem in playing their matches in strife-torn Zimbabwe, will not agree to any change in venue to suit England, sources said. "We will not allow the game to be moved," a source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told. "And I can tell you Pakistan too will object. If India, Pakistan, Australia, Namibia and Holland can play in Zimbabwe, why shouldn't England?" Pakistan manager Shararyar Khan, however, declined to comment, saying he had been advised by the Pakistan Cricket Board not to comment on the issue.

"Pakistan has already said it will play in Zimbabwe, there's nothing more to add," Khan, a former diplomat, said. India plays its preliminary league match against Zimbabwe at Harare on February 19. Pakistan's game is at Bulawayo on March 4. If needed, the BCCI could seek the support of other Asian nations like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - who are not involved in Zimbabwe matches - to oppose any switch, the source said. England's reluctance and subsequent refusal to go to Zimbabwe is already causing heartbreak in the rest of the cricket world. On Monday, South Africa threatened to cancel its post-World Cup tour of England if Nasser Hussain's men refuse to play in Harare, a move that could do massive damage to English cricket's finances.

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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