Perth: Zimbabwe cricket coach Geoff Marsh said Wednesday he does not want his side to advance to the late stages of the World Cup on the back of points awarded against countries not prepared to play in the strife-torn country.
“The last thing you want is to get points from a forfeit in a World Cup,” Marsh told the West Australian newspaper from Zimbabwe. Marsh, a western Australian and former Australian opening batting star, coached the Australian side to their World Cup triumph four years ago. He has been coaching in Zimbabwe for the past six months.
“We would be very disappointed to get points from forfeits,” Marsh told the paper.
He made his comments as England looked increasingly likely to abandon World Cup matches in Zimbabwe as doubts grew about the host country’s capacity to maintain safety and security at venues in Harare and Bulawayo.
New Zealand are currently in dispute with the International Cricket Council (ICC) over their match against Kenya in Nairobi on February 21, which it wants moved on security grounds.
Decisions were expected to be made by the England and Australian controlling bodies in the next few days.
The 14-nation showpiece, being staged mainly in South Africa, begins Sunday, with England scheduled to meet Zimbabwe in Harare february 13 and Australia drawn to play Zimbabwe in Bulawayo February 24.
Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer has urged the ICC to transfer Australia’s game to South Africa.
Zimbabwe could advance to the Super Six stage of the contest if they gain full points from forfeits by England and Australia and then beat Namibia and Holland, among the less favoured sides.
But Marsh said going ahead on forfeits would be a hollow way to advance. Marsh declined to comment on Australia’s growing reluctance to travel to Zimbabwe, apart from saying he was reluctant to endorse the visit without being able to guarantee it was trouble-free.
“I really cannot say anything about Australia’s position,” he said. “My focus here is on the cricket and Zimbabwe’s performance on the field.
“Everything else is out of our control, and the only thing we can do is prepare ourselves to play in the World Cup.” (AFP)