Strife-torn Zimbabwe will remain a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), officials said on Friday, after the deeply-divided world body worked out a last-minute compromise.
"The full membership of Zimbabwe is currently not in doubt," incoming ICC president David Morgan of England told reporters at the conclusion of the council's executive board meeting.
"There was not even a discussion on the issue of Zimbabwe's membership," he said.
The ICC Executive Board, which sat for an unscheduled third day, agreed to keep Zimbabwe in its fold after the African nation acceded to India's request to pull out of next year's World Twenty20 championships in England.
The British government had made it clear it would not issue visas to Zimbabwean cricketers, which could have forced the ICC to move the lucrative tournament out of England.
"Everybody stands to benefit from the decision," said Morgan.
"Zimbabwe will be entitled to participation fees in the tournament like any other member. The ICC could not jeopardise the tournament."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the decision.
"I welcome the suspension of Zimbabwe from ICC tournaments for a year. This will allow the Twenty20 tournament in England to go ahead.
"It also sends a powerful message to Zimbabwe that the Government must change or face further isolation."
The ICC said in a statement that Zimbabwe's decision to withdraw from the Twenty20 Worlds in June next year was a "one-off and will not be taken as a precedent."
"The Zimbabwe delegation has agreed to take this decision in the greater interest of world cricket and the ICC," the statement said.
The cricket boards of South Africa and England last week suspended bilateral ties with Zimbabwe in protest at the deteriorating political situation in Harare, where President Robert Mugabe was controversially re-elected.
While England and South Africa reportedly wanted Zimbabwe suspended from the ICC, the Asian bloc -- led by the game's commercial powerhouse India -- opposed the move.
With India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh supporting Zimbabwe, the rival group led by England was unable to garner the 7-3 majority among the 10 full members required to suspend the African nation.
India convinced Zimbabwe to agree to a compromise and withdraw from the Twenty20 Worlds at a late-night meeting on Thursday, an Indian board official told AFP.
Zimbabwe Cricket Union president Peter Chingoka earlier told AFP that his country had voluntarily pulled out of the event.
"Zimbabwe has agreed not to participate in the Twenty20 world championships in the wider interest of cricket," Chingoka said.
"But we will continue to be a full member of the ICC and welcome any team that wants to play against us.
"We voluntarily agreed to back out of the Twenty20 Worlds because we were told we won't get visas to England. We don't want to gate crash where we are not welcome."