LONDON: The International Cricket Council (ICC) have formed a standing committee to monitor whether or not games at the forthcoming World Cup can be played in Zimbabwe.
The African nation is due to host six out of the 54 World Cup matches when the tournament gets underway next month but food riots in the capital Harare and Bulawayo have raised safety concerns.
ICC president Malcolm Gray told the BBC: “The committee will keep a watching brief over security and will act if need be.”
There has been widespread opposition to the Zimbabwe matches, with politicians and human rights groups saying they should be played elsewhere in protest at the policies of President Robert Mugabe.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have come under strong pressure from the British Government to pull out of their match against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13 although ministers have stressed that the final decision is one for the cricket authorities alone.
Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand governments have also expressed their concerns although both now appear resigned to their teams playing in Zimbabwe.
The ICC have always maintained that the only reason for moving matches from Zimbabwe would be on safety and security grounds. They sent an inspection team to Zimbabwe in November and their report concluded that it was still safe for matches to go ahead there.
And Gray insisted: “You cannot take the issue of security and relate it to the political question as to whether England goes or not.
“I think the England cricket board has been doing a miraculous job and the management have taken a strong stance,” the Australian added. – AFP
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