It's final: England decides not to go to Zimbabwe

Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2003, 3:44 [IST]
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Cape Town: England's World Cup match against Zimbabwe will not take place in Harare on Thursday. World Cup executive director Ali Bacher said that Thursday's match would not take place in Zimbabwe. Bacher said England would make a new application to the World Cup event technical committee, which last week rejected England's plea to move the match on safety grounds, probably on Thursday.

He added that England had "new information which would support why they shouldn't have gone to Harare. "The technical committee will then rule on whether the match can or cannot be rescheduled in South Africa, it is as simple as that." International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed, also the chairman of the technical committee, said: "The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) has notified the ICC that it will not play its match scheduled for 13 February."

But Speed added: "I certainly would not assume the match will be relocated." England's decision threatens to open up a series of tit-for-tat cancellations that could split world cricket. India and Pakistan have repeatedly said they ware willing to play in Zimbabwe and are not expected to look kindly on any attempt by England to play their game elsewhere, the Asian giants arguing that the rules should be the same for all teams. Indian sources told AFP: "India and Pakistan will never agree to this." Zimbabwe, meanwhile, have been adamantly opposed to any relocation.

They are due to tour England in May but could now call off their tour in retaliation and South Africa, due in England in June, have said they could take similar action as a gesture of sympathy with their African neighbours. "If Zimbabwe pull out, we will consider coming out in sympathy with our Zimbabwean brothers and not touring England at all," United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) president Percy Sonn said on Monday.


AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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