Hussain slams ICC for mishandling Zim crisis

Published: Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Nasser Hussain has slammed the International Cricket Council (ICC) for their handling of the Zimbabwe crisis and said he failed to see how any sort of international cricket could be staged in the troubled African state in the present time.

"I can't see how any side, Test or One-day, could possibly go to Zimbabwe and play cricket now," he told Sky Sports TV in an interview broadcast in London.

"There are a multitude of reasons - from the moral down to the fact that you're not playing against their best side. And that's just about selection of their team, let alone everything else that's going on behind the scenes in the country."

Former England captain Hussain last week announced his retirement from all cricket after scoring a match-winning unbeaten hundred in the first Test against New Zealand at Lords.

He gave up the captaincy following England's first-round World Cup exit last year. England went out after they were docked points by cricket chiefs for refusing to play in the Zimbabwean capital Harare on safety grounds.

That last-ditch decision was reached only after months of wrangling.

And a tense situation was further complicated by the fact that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed the existence of a death-threat letter against the team if they went to Zimbabwe just as the players were on the brink of deciding whether to go ahead with the match.

Hussain later labelled the ICC's actions as "diabolical", adding the whole affair had been a "a low point for world cricket, the ICC and the ECB".

And the 36-year-old former Essex batsman, who is set to join Sky's commentary team, said in the interview. "People would come into our room and say 'whatever happens you're going to Zimbabwe, it doesn't matter what's happening or what you think, we're taking you there'.

"The way they went about it and their attitude since about the whole thing has been very poor. I think if you go round asking people in general about what they think about it, they would agree."

Zimbabwe was plunged into turmoil following the axing of 15 white players, including former captain Heath Streak, by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) after they raised concerns over a racial quota selection policy.

A weakened Zimbabwe side were thrashed by an innings in two Tests at home to Sri Lanka earlier this month.

The scale of the defeats - an innings and 240 runs and an innings and 254 runs - saw the ZCU agree to an ICC plan to call off their home Test series against Australia, currently the world's best team.

However, the ICC was content to allow a shortened One-day series between the two nations to go ahead, world champions Australia duly completing a 3-0 clean sweep on Saturday.

England are due to tour Zimbabwe this November.

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