Paarl: The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) “is not preparing” an alternative venue for any possible relocation of the England versus Zimbabwe World Cup Pool A match.
“We aren’t specifically readying any one ground... Our belief is that the Event Technical Committee (ETC), which will now determine the fate of that game (originally scheduled for Thursday in Harare), can’t do a somersault and go back on its own decision,” a senior UCBSA functionary told The Telegraph.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, the functionary added: “Effectively, the ETC will have to base its opinion on the same set of facts and, if it ruled against any shifting just a few days ago, how can it now do a U-turn'”
England, of course, have time till Thursday afternoon to lodge a fresh appeal before the ETC, which includes International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed, World Cup executive director Dr Ali Bacher and Sunil Gavaskar.
The ETC can either treat the match as cancelled and award two points to each team or relocate it. The other option is to give all four points to Heath Streak’s Zimbabwe.
It’s not insignificant that the Zimbabwe Cricket Union has confirmed it won’t agree to any shifting. That stand was first made known when the ETC was meeting last week. Incidentally, the ETC apart, Appeals Commissioner Justice Albie Sachs too wasn’t impressed by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s “presentation.”
Given the present set of circumstances, it’s unlikely that the ETC will (belatedly) oblige England.