x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

England sorry for players of Zimbabwe

England chiefs offer sympathy for Zimbabwe cricketers but insist they had to withdraw from the Twenty20 World Cup.

Kevin Pitersen (right) and his England colleagues will not be facing Zimbabwe in the Twenty20 World Cup next year.
Kevin Pitersen (right) and his England colleagues will not be facing Zimbabwe in the Twenty20 World Cup next year.

LONDON // The English cricket chiefs have described Zimbabwe's withdrawal from next year's World Twenty20 as their "minimum" solution to the ongoing crisis over the African country. Zimbabwe this week agreed to pull out of the tournament, due to be played in England next year, after coming under pressure at the International Cricket Council's meeting in Dubai.

With the British government having already stated cricketers representing Mugabe would not be welcome in the UK, the compromise prevented the logistical nightmare of having to move the event. The ECB chief executive David Collier said: "I think the solution that came out in terms of Zimbabwe not playing at the World Twenty20 was the one that was the minimum that we really wanted. "We feel for the people in Zimbabwe and particularly the cricketers in Zimbabwe. We want Zimbabwe to come back and produce the world-class players they have in the past.

"You feel sorry for any sportsman in this position but I think the words of Nelson Mandela resonated in the rooms around Dubai and I think the right course of action was taken. "We will now have a really world-class event in England next year." Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket has decided to continue with its planned tour of Zimbabwe in July next year unless its government orders the tour stopped. The New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark said this week her government opposed the tour and would like to see Zimbabwe thrown out of the ICC but would not prevent the tour from taking place.

* PA Sport