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Zimbabwe fixtures contingency plan shelved
January 13, 2003 17:58 IST
Plans to move World Cup fixtures from Zimbabwe have been shelved for the time being, tournament organisers said on Monday.
However if the International Cricket Council withdraws its support of the six matches being played in the politically charged country, then they could still be moved to South Africa where the bulk of the tournament is to be staged, they added.
England and Australia, who are scheduled to play first round games in Zimbabwe, are under pressure from their governments not to play in the country on political grounds.
The prospect of teams refusing to play in Zimbabwe prompted speculation that the matches would be moved.
"The contingency had been in place for quite a while, but it was overtaken after the International Cricket Council ruled that the matches could go ahead," World Cup communications director Rodney Hartman told Reuters .
"If the ICC decides to move the six games, then the contingency plan can be resurrected," Hartman said. "Nothing has changed to suggest those matches will be moved."
An ICC delegation visited Zimbabwe last November and decided the country is safe for players and officials.
The England and Wales Cricket Board will decide on Tuesday whether England will play their February 13 fixture against Zimbabwe in Harare.
Pakistan and India have said they have no qualms about playing in Zimbabwe, while Namibia toured there in September and October and are expected to play. The Netherlands have not made their intentions known.
Zimbabwe is scheduled to host six matches in the 54-game tournament, which starts with the opening ceremony in Cape Town on February 8.
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