London: England players have urgently requested that next month’s World Cup match in Harare be switched to South Africa due to the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe.
“As concerns within the England team grow over the current political situation in Zimbabwe, the players have today requested an urgent review of their scheduled World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13,” a statement by England’s Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) said on Monday.
“Without doubt the issues have been weighing heavily on the players’ minds, taking into account the moral, political and contractual aspects.”
One man died and seven others were injured last week after attackers lobbed petrol bombs at an office of Zimbabwe’s ruling party, further increasing political and economic tension in the country.
“As recently as Thursday January 23, representatives of the players and the ECB met government officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO),” the joint statement said. “It was made clear the situation in Zimbabwe is highly volatile.”
Zimbabwe Cricket Union’s (ZCU) response was cautious, adds a report from Harare. ZCU chief Peter Chingoka said the concerns had yet to be considered by the ECB and the ICC, and “nothing has changed here. There is no justification for the England match to be moved…,” Two just-concluded tour had gone off safely,” he said.