London: England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman David Morgan expects England will play their controversial World Cup match in Zimbabwe.
The ECB has been put under increasing pressure by the British government to boycott the February 13 game in Harare as a show of opposition to Robert Mugabe’s leadership.
But Morgan told BBC Radio on Friday: “I would be surprised if the (ECB) management board determines anything other than to fulfil the commitment to the World Cup by playing in Zimbabwe.
“I want cricket to stay united and I think it has to go ahead for this to happen.”
However, ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said after Thursday’s meeting that the government’s stance could have serious legal and financial effects on English cricket.
“I think that we have been put in a very difficult situation,” Lamb said.
As the row between cricket officials and government continued, England captain Nasser Hussain urged both sides to make a final decision.
“They should get their heads together, stop faffing around and start making decisions,” he said.
“My view has got to be dictated by what people tell me. I just want to be guided by the people in the know to tell our young lads whether we should go or not.” The ECB failed to reach an agreement with the sports minister Tessa Jowell on Thursday after she ruled out any form of compensation if the ECB agreed to boycott the fixture.
A final decision will be made at a meeting of the ECB’s 15-man management board at Lord’s next Tuesday.
ICC president Malcolm Gray has said England will forfeit two points and face a £ 1 million bill if they do not play the fixture and the financial cost could mount substantially if Zimbabwe chose to pull out of a planned England tour next year.