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Zimbabwe Cricket Union to Weigh in on England Controversy - 2003-02-12


The Zimbabwe Cricket Union is sending a delegation to South Africa to give its side of the controversy over England's refusal to play its scheduled World Cup match in Harare.

The World Cup technical committee will meet Friday in Cape Town to decide whether to move the match or punish the England team for not playing it as scheduled.

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union says it has lost at least tens-of-thousands of dollars through the cancellation of the match scheduled to be played Thursday.

Its chairman, Peter Chingoka, says players, ground staff and organizers were all disappointed that England refused to play in Zimbabwe, citing security concerns. Several members of the English cricket team have also said they do not want to travel to Zimbabwe because of its extended political and economic crisis.

Mr. Chingoka says the World Cup technical committee will make a final decision Friday on whether England loses four-points to Zimbabwe in the tournament, and pays a fine, or whether the match will be moved to South Africa.

Well-placed sources believe the Zimbabwe Cricket Union will strongly oppose rescheduling the match. President Robert Mugabe is the patron of the Union.

On a related issue, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union said it has asked the World Cup technical committee to rule on a protest by two Zimbabwe players

Bowler Henry Olonga, the first black to play for the national team, and world-class batsman Andy Flower, who is white, issued a statement before their first World Cup match Monday in which they said they mourned the death of democracy in their country. The two wore black armbands in their first match and say they will keep them on throughout the tournament.

Both players deny they have brought Zimbabwe cricket into disrepute by their statement and by wearing the armbands. They say they spoke out as individuals, whose consciences are troubled by Zimbabwe's continuing political repression and widespread hunger.

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