London: Paul Collingwood said he felt "relief" after Wednesday's announcement that next year's tour of Zimbabwe by England had been called off by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
"It's a great relief in many ways," the England one-day captain, speaking after his side's dramatic one-wicket defeat to New Zealand in the fourth one-day international at The Oval here Wednesday
"It's been going on since 2001, since I've been playing cricket (for England) and it's good that it's been taken out of our hands."
David Morgan, the president-elect of the International Cricket Council (ICC), also backed the ECB's move, taken with the full backing of the British Government in protest at the policies of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
A letter written by Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Andy Burnham to the ECB said the British government had "concluded that it would not be right to allow the proposed tour (to England) by Zimbabwe Cricket in 2009 to take place".
The government's clear statement means the ECB are likely to escape an ICC fine of two million dollars (one million pounds), which would have been imposed had they banned Zimbabwe themselves.
Morgan, a former chairman of the ECB, told Sky Sports: "It pleases me, and the ECB have done that on receipt of a letter to their chairman from the secretary of state, Mr Burnham.
"I believe it is a letter which provides the correct wording to provide an acceptable non-compliance within the FTP (future tours programme) for the ECB, and that must be welcome news."
Morgan said there had been a key change since his time at the ECB, when there were calls for England to not tour Zimbabwe.
"In 2004, when we toured Zimbabwe, we simply had to go because the Government were unable to give us an instruction, and therefore provide an acceptable non-compliance. So we went.
"I think it has to be good news against the background of the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe that the British government have issued this letter this morning."
Morgan added there was a possibility Zimbabwe, which effectively suspended itself from Test cricket because of a collapse in playing standards, could have its one-day status revoked when the ICC board meets in Dubai next week.
"I am sure that will be in the minds of many of the delegates.
"I think there is every chance that it could happen, but it would be a very difficult decision."
If Zimbabwe were thrown out, they could be barred from next year's Twenty20 World Cup in England.
But Morgan added: "I reminded myself this morning of a meeting of the executive board just a year ago when the subject of how member countries are governed was on the table.
"The executive board decided by a substantial majority politics and cricket should not mix. For matters to move forward there will have to be a change in that regard."
Cricket South Africa announced Monday it was suspending its bilateral arrangements with Zimbabwe Cricket.
Their move, and that of the ECB and the British government, followed the recent withdrawal by Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai from the second round of the presidential election amidst widespread violence in the troubled African state.