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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Ponting puts trust in ACB over Zimbabwe decision

Craig Ray in Johannesburg | January 31, 2003 10:42 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting said he trusted the Australian Cricket Board to take the correct decision about whether or not his team should play a World Cup match in Zimbabwe next month.

Australia, who arrived in South Africa on Thursday, are scheduled to play in Bulawayo on February 24 despite calls for matches in Zimbabwe to be called off because of the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country.

"It is not the political issue that concerns me," Ponting said at a news conference. "Player safety is the only issue as far as I'm concerned and we have no reason not to trust the ACB."

The ACB have decided to go ahead with the match having satisfied themselves that security arrangements put in place by the organisers were adequate.

"They have served us well in the past for example when they cancelled tours to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and nothing has changed," Ponting added.

Team manager Steve Bernard, speaking before the International Cricket Council announced in London that the Zimbabwe matches would go ahead, also put his faith in the cricket's ruling bodies.

"Nothing has changed as far as we know and there is still a process to go through and we trust that process," he said.

"At the moment we are going to Zimbabwe, but obviously the issue will be discussed further - it's a case of steady as she goes."

Handshake

Ponting did not want to discuss the issue of whether players would shake the hand of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who opponents blame for the country's problems.

"That is a purely hypothetical situation, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said.

Australia, the defending champions, are favourites to win the title although they have been hit by injuries to their three best bowlers in recent weeks.

"We are all okay now I hope," Ponting said. "With a bit of luck we will all be alright for the first game. Shane Warne [who had a shoulder injury] has already played a few games, Jason Gillespie is fit and Glenn McGrath keeps telling me he is fine."

Ponting played down predictions that the tournament would be a two-horse race between hosts South Africa and Australia.

"There are lots of good teams and one good performance can swing a game and even win the tournament," he said.

"But we like to think that we can perform at a consistent level and we have a few things up our sleeves although I'm sure the other teams do as well.

"We hope to play against South Africa, they are a very good side and they will be hard to beat at home."

The opening ceremony of the tournament takes place in Cape Town on February 8.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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