Zimbabwe agony indeed a tearful affair: Hussain

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: England captain Nasser Hussain on Monday revealed that his teammates have become so tormented with the Zimbabwe crisis that some have broken down in tears. As the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) traded claim, counter-claim and allegations over who was responsible for the Harare boycott fiasco, the skipper made an emotional public plea in an effort to win back the support of the public who have rapidly lost patience with the affair.

"On Sunday, there were 15 England cricketers discussing whether to go to Zimbabwe or not. It was a very emotional, very heated meeting," said Hussain. "There were people in tears, there were people trying to weigh up all the difficult decisions that we had to make. Each individual was speaking, talking of the pros and cons. "There was a lot of emotion in the room. We weren't sure what we were doing," said Hussain as the team and its ECB employers continued to insist that Thursday's World Cup clash in Harare should be shifted to a venue outside Zimbabwe because they were not convinced of the security guarantees they had received from the ICC.

As they were speaking, said the captain, they were informed that death threats had been issued against them and their families if they played the match. "The chairman David Morgan and chief executive Tim Lamb came in and asked us to stop what we were doing. We have some additional news for you. "Tim said, 'I don't want to know anything about this meeting or where you are with this. I would like to say something'.

"The room fell quiet. The chairman stated that a letter from a group called Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe had been received and that had obviously very much upset the team. "At this stage some of us were taking it lightly, some weren't, but the chairman confirmed that it was a serious threat. "Interpol knew who these people were and they were linked to the opposition in Zimbabwe," explained Hussain although the letter was on Monday dismissed again as a hoax by South Africa's second most senior police officer.

"Morgan said it would be appropriate if we left the room so that he, Tim Lamb and the lawyers could go off and discuss it with the ICC," continued Hussain. "We've had a weight lifted off our shoulders. That is my statement, that is the truth, that is where the players have stood and I just feel it's important that you know that," said Hussain.

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