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ICC puts off England’s Harare tie

Cape Town: The ICC Tuesday bought a desperate breather in the now murky England-Zimbabwe affair by announcing that Thursday’s match in strife-torn Harare between the two teams will now not be held that day.

The sport’s governing body told a news conference that it would allow England a fresh appeal against the staging of the game, even though an earlier appeal, supposedly binding, had been thrown out last week.

ICC chief executive Malcom Speed said: “The ICC has moved to cancel the match.”

He said the matter would now go back to the World Cup technical committee for a second time after the ECB argued they had new information — concerning death threats made against their players — which had not been properly dealt with at the first appeal.

England’s squad, worried about security as well as social and political unrest in Zimbabwe, remain divided over whether to play the game and were locked in a string of meetings for several days before returning to training.

Speed added: “If they (the technical committee) agree with the ECB’s decision (not to go to Zimbabwe on security grounds) and they cannot reschedule the match, the points will be shared. If they find the concerns are not justified, then the points will be awarded to Zimbabwe.”

A date for England’s new hearing has yet to be set.

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