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English umpires also to skip Zimbabwe

Johannesburg: English umpires Peter Willey and Neil Mallender have withdrawn from their World Cup matches in Zimbabwe, the ICC said Monday.

Last week England refused to travel to Harare for their scheduled February 13 Cup-opener vs Zimbabwe on because of both security and moral concerns.

An ICC spokesman said: “They did not feel comfortable after the England team had pulled out of their match in Harare and they confirmed that to us.”

Willey was scheduled to stand in Zimbabwe’s Group A match vs Australia in Bulawayo February 24, with Mallender as Third Umpire.

Willey was also due to officiate in Zimbabwe’s game against the Netherlands at the same venue four days later.

“They have been replaced by other umpires on the official panel and there is no change to the games,” the ICC spokesman added.

Willey, like Mallender a former Test player, said: “I advised the ICC some time ago of my concerns and indicated that if my employer, the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board), did not send its team to Zimbabwe, I would be unlikely to travel to the country.”

Willey has been replaced by Billy Bowden of New Zealand for the Australia match, and by Nadeem Ghouri of Pakistan for the Netherlands game. Mallender will be replaced by Brian Jerling of South Africa.

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