CAPE TOWN: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has cancelled England's match against Zimbabwe in strife-torn Harare tomorrow in a last-gasp bid to save the tournament from the threat of a match boycott.
The sport's governing body told a news conference yesterday that it would allow England a fresh appeal against the staging of the game, even though an earlier appeal, supposedly binding, had been thrown out last week.
ICC chief executive Malcom Speed said: “The ICC has moved to cancel the match.”
He said the matter would now go back to the World Cup technical committee for a second time after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) argued they had new information – concerning death threats made against their players – which had not been properly dealt with at the first appeal.
England's squad, worried about security as well as social and political unrest in Zimbabwe, remain divided over whether to play the game and were locked in a string of meetings for several days before returning to training.
Speed added: “If they (the technical committee) agree with the ECB's decision (not to go to Zimbabwe on security grounds) and they cannot reschedule the match, the points will be shared.
“If they find the concerns are not justified, then the points will be awarded to Zimbabwe.”
A date for England's new hearing has yet to be set.
Six of the World Cup's 54 matches are due to take place in Zimbabwe. A debate over whether they should go ahead has been raging for months among politicians, administrators and players.
Australia remain committed to playing in Bulawayo later in the tournament but are monitoring the security situation.
New Zealand, meanwhile, have refused to play their fixture against Kenya in Nairobi, also because of security worries.
England and Australia came under pressure from their governments to boycott their games in protest at the policies of President Robert Mugabe, who they say rigged his 2002 re-election and has caused mass hunger among half of Zimbabwe's population because of his policies. – Reuters
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