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Thatscricket - News - Aus delegation off to Zim to check security

Published: Monday, March 1, 2004, 22:44 [IST]
 
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Melbourne:An Australian cricket delegation left for Zimbabwe to report on security measures ahead of Australia's scheduled tour in May-June. Cricket Australia (CA) general manager Michael Brown and team manager Steve Bernard left on Monday for Harare along with Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) chief executive Tim May.

They will spend two days in Zimbabwe checking security measures for Australia's scheduled tour of two Tests and three One-day matches.

They will then fly to Sri Lanka to discuss their findings with the touring Australian team, with a decision on whether the tour goes ahead expected in about a fortnight.

A CA spokesman said the delegation would meet with the Australian ambassador to Zimbabwe, members of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and local Government representatives to discuss safety issues in the troubled African nation.

The delegation will spend Tuesday in Harare and Wednesday in Bulawayo -- the two cities which could host matches -- before leaving for Sri Lanka, the CA spokesman said.

The Australian Government is opposed to the tour on moral grounds, fearing the Robert Mugabe regime will use the visit of the world's leading team for political purposes.

The CA and ACA have maintained the only reason skipper Ricky Ponting and his players would not tour would be based on security issues. Under International Cricket Council rules, every member nation must tour every other country at least once every four years.

Australia cancelled a tour of Zimbabwe in 2002 for security reasons and has played only one Test in the country, in 1999. The world champions also played in Bulawayo during last year's World Cup.

afp.com

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