JOHANNESBURG: England's cricket team touched down in Harare yesterday, two days later than planned due to a row over accreditation for the majority of British media covering the controversial Zimbabwe tour.
The first of five one-day matches, originally set for yesterday, has been rescheduled for tomorrow, England team spokesman Andrew Walpole said.
“The rest of the schedule should follow shortly,” Walpole told journalists at Johannesburg Aiport, shortly before the team boarded the plane.
The whole tour was thrown into question earlier this week when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) told the team to remain in South Africa after Zimbabwe authorities barred 13 British journalists.
But the tour got the go-ahead on Thursday when the host authorities rescinded the ban.
“We are delighted the decision has been fully reversed,” said ECB director of operations John Carr, who briefed the players on Thursday.
“The tour has to take place to fulfil England's commitment to the (International Cricket Council's) Future Tours Programme. The goalposts were moved when accreditation was denied but we are back to where we were now,” he added.
Major Anyway Mutambudzi, a senior official at the Zimbabwe department of information and publicity, told Reuters the 13 barred reporters had been part of a backlog of applications which had now been cleared.
Earlier, a spokesman for President Robert Mugabe said the reporters had been banned because they worked for organisations hostile to the Zimbabwe leader. – Reuters
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