South African tour will go ahead, confirms ECB

Published: Saturday, March 22, 2003, 2:55 [IST]
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London: South Africa's tour of England this summer will go ahead as scheduled, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Friday, raising hopes Zimbabwe will also decide to tour. South Africa, which is due to play five Test matches against England and also take part in three-way One-day series involving Zimbabwe, had hinted it could join a potential boycott by its southern African neighbours in protest over England's decision to pull out of its World Cup match in Harare. But that threat now appears to have been withdrawn. ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said, "Following discussions with the UCBSA over the past few days, I am pleased to announce that South Africa has confirmed its intention to tour England this summer." Lamb said more than $ million Pounds worth of tickets had already been sold for the Tests against South Africa. ECB chairman David Morgan is due to travel to Zimbabwe next week in a bid to persuade the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) not to pull out of the two Tests and six One-day International the team are due to play this summer. The ZCU is reportedly under strong pressure from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to boycott England - a move that would lead to severe losses for the ECB. English cricket is already facing financial penalties from the International Cricket Council (ICC) after pulling out of the Harare match on security grounds. The ICC had ruled there was no real threat to players or fans safety in the Zimbabwean capital. Copyright AFP 2001

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