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England team receive warning on Zimbabwe
January 25, 2003 21:15 IST
England captain Nasser Hussain confirmed on Saturday his team had received a letter warning of the possibility of violence interrupting next month's World Cup in Zimbabwe. He, however, denied an earlier report that the letter contained threats of violence against his team.
"It was more a factual letter, putting over a certain side of what Zimbabwe people think," Hussain told a news conference at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. England play the home side in Harare on February 13 in the tournament, which is being played mainly in South Africa as well as Kenya.
"There will be a release from our (players') representative regarding the whole Zimbabwe situation," Hussain added. "When you are getting things in the dressing room in Sydney and stuff like that, players do think that we have to have a chat.
"It has been in the back of our minds. We've spoken to the chairman of the board and our representative will be releasing a statement."
Hussain said he would like to move on from the Zimbabwe issue and concentrate on cricket.
"This is a very important subject, but the sooner we as a team and as a nation start concentrating on cricket, it will be more important for this time," he said.
England and Australia have resisted calls from their governments to boycott matches in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe faces criticism over policies that opponents say have led to economic crisis and political unrest.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) decided on Friday that all six of the matches to be played in Zimbabwe would go ahead after reviewing security arrangements.
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told a news conference on Friday the board decided there was "no reason on grounds of safety and security to relocate the matches scheduled to be played in Zimbabwe".
World Cup executive director Ali Bacher said any letters should be treated with suspicion.
"In South Africa over the years I have received many anonymous threatening letters," Bacher told Reuters.
"Most people don't put a name to them. I've never gone to the police and I'm still around today."
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