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English Cricket Captain to Quit Zimbabwe Tour if Forced to Shake Hands With Mugabe


England's cricket team captain says that his team will quit its current tour of Zimbabwe if he is force to shake hands with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Michael Vaughan told a news conference Saturday that the head of the England and Wales Cricket Board assured him no such formalities would be required when the tour starts Sunday.

Vaughan said that the tour will be assessed on a day-by-day basis and added that he is looking forward to leaving Zimbabwe and going on to South Africa.

The tour was shortened to four matches after a controversy reputed over Zimbabwe's banning 13 British reporters covering the tour, including from the BBC, the London Times and the Daily Mirror. The government lifted the ban on Thursday.

England is scheduled to play one match in Harare Sunday and then three matches in Bulawayo next week before flying to South Africa for five test matches and seven one-day internationals.

Relations between England and Zimbabwe have been strained since President Mugabe began land reforms that took land from white farmers - many of whom had British passports - and gave it to landless blacks.

Britain has also campaigned for international sanctions against Mr. Mugabe for allegedly rigging the 2002 presidential election. Mr. Mugabe says the election was fair and that Western governments have sabotaged his country's economy.

Some information provided by AFP and Reuters.

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