London: Zimbabwe and Kenya will remain as venues for next month’s cricket World Cup despite fears expressed by Australia, England and New Zealand about their players’ safety.
The decision — following the third bout of soul-searching about World Cup security in the past six weeks — was announced by ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed following a tele-conference on Thursday.
“There is a process in place, there is a plan in place. The plan identifies the threats, it assesses the risks, it puts strategies in place to deal with these matters,” Speed said.
Speed said there were “not sufficient reasons to make the move” away from Kenya where two games are due to take place.
The decision to press ahead with games in Zimbabwe and Kenya was welcomed by the tournament’s executive director Ali Bacher.
“It has always been our unwavering belief that the six matches scheduled for Zimbabwe and the two in Kenya would go ahead as planned,” Bacher said in Johannesburg. “We are glad we can now concentrate on adding final touches to arrangements in both countries as we have done in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Kenya came under renewed fire ahead of the tele-conference when New Zealand foreign minister Phil Goff called for the Black Caps’ tie against Kenya to be switched to South Africa, adds a report from Wellington.
The New Zealand Cricket top brass has already said it wants the match against Kenya in Nairobi on February 21 to be relocated to South Africa on security grounds.
The New Zealand government has advised Stephen Fleming’s team not to travel to Kenya, angering the Kenyan Cricket Association, which accused NZC of over-reacting in the aftermath of the Nairobi bomb attacks late last year.
On Wednesday, Goff said NZC was acting on advice from the government as well as South African police and the United States embassy in Nairobi when it asked to have the match transferred.
“Kenya, understandably I guess, is somewhat upset about that,” Goff said. “No country wants to see itself placed on a travel advisory, but our first responsibility rests with giving the best advice we can to our own citizens.”
NZ may forfeit Kenya game
Now that ICC has refused to alter vennues, New Zealand could forfeit the game as hinted by NZC chief executive Martin Snedden.
Kenya’s cricket association chairman accused New Zealand of treating Africa with “double standards” by saying that his country could not provide adequate security for Cup matches.
“This attitude is appalling. We can’t accept Africa be treated with double standards,” Kenya Cricket Association chairman Jimmy Rayani said.
“The security measures put in place in Kenya are the same as what is in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Yet New Zealand are happy to go to South Africa and not Kenya. Who do they think they are'” he said, addressing members of the Kenyan team. (Agencies)