AN England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) delegation will meet members of Zimbabwe’s main opposition groups after arriving in Harare on Sunday to conduct a safety and security inspection in prepar
ation for next month’s tour.
John Carr, the ECB’s director of cricket operations, Richard Bevan of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, and representatives of a security consultant retained by the ECB will spend four days in Zimbabwe canvassing opinion from all sectors of Zimbabwean society, as well as inspecting the facilities and hotels that England are scheduled to use.
Bevan attended a meeting at the Foreign Office on Wednesday to seek guidance on the visit and will also liaise with two other “independent” but unnamed overseas missions in Zimbabwe during the reconnaissance.
Safety and security is one of the grounds on which the International Cricket Council would allow the England team to withdraw from the tour. David Morgan, chairman of the ECB, said that there was little prospect of the tour being cancelled when the ICC executive board meets this weekend in Lahore.
“Nothing I have seen in the papers I have been presented gives me any reason to think the tour will not go ahead. However, there are matters yet to be disclosed, including the findings of the racism inquiry that was held in Zimbabwe recently.”
Morgan also confirmed that he expected the England team to sport the logo of their main sponsor, Vodafone, during the matches in Zimbabwe. Lord MacLaurin, his predecessor at Lord’s and chair of the telecom company, has said he would not be in favour.
“Unless they say otherwise, the logos will be worn,” Morgan said.
England refused to travel to Zimbabwe in January last year to play a World Cup match citing security reasons. – Guardian.