Zim gets another chance to persuade England

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2004, 21:25 [IST]
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London:Zimbabwe cricket officials will get their chance to try to persuade England to go ahead with their controversial autumn tour of the African nation at a summit meeting at Lord's on April 20.

The England and Wales Cricket Board have invited Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) chairman Peter Chingoka, legal affairs director Alwyn Pichanick and board member Ozias Bvute to the Lord's board meeting.

"The meeting will allow both Boards to directly, and more fully, discuss the issue of England's scheduled tour to Zimbabwe later this year," the ECB said in a statement on Thursday.

England, Australia and Sri Lanka are scheduled to tour Zimbabwe later this year, but England have delayed confirming their October trip amid strong British Government pressure to scrap the tour in protest at the policies of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Crucially, however, the British Government has stopped short of formally ordering the England Cricket Board (ECB) not to send a team.

Under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, barring a Government ban, the only other way for the ECB to withdraw without paying compensation is on security grounds.

Under new sanctions agreed at an ICC board meeting in Auckland earlier this month, England risk a two million dollar fine if they fail to tour Zimbabwe.

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