Johannesburg: Bringing an end to the long-drawn controversy regarding England’s World Cup match in Harare, the ICC on Saturday turned down an appeal by ECB to relocate the game and awarded four points in favour of Zimbabwe.
The World Cup technical committee, which met here to take the vital decision, ruled against shifting the match out of Zimbabwe after England’s players, backed by their board (ECB), refused to travel to the southern African country because of security concerns.
The ECB chief Tim Lamb said England will not lodge a final appeal against the ICC’s decision. Besides forfeiting four valuable points, England can also face huge compensation claims from the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) for boycotting the February 13 game which was later cancelled.
“It is unanimously decided by the technical committee that concerns raised by the ECB relating to new evidence over safety and security are not justified,” ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said. “The committee has therefore unanimously declined the ECB application. England are deemed to have lost its match against Zimbabwe and the points are awarded to Zimbabwe accordingly. “We want this resolved as quickly as possible so that World Cup director Ali Bacher and his workers can get on with running this tournament,” Speed said.
“It’s a decision that gives the committee no pleasure,” he added.
Though the ICC decided that the “concerns raised about new evidence were not justified,” the ECB chief said the board did “all we can do to persuade the ICC of the merits of our case but the issue has dragged long enough.”
Lamb said the ECB does not agree with the ICC decision but keeping in mind the interest of the World Cup, teams participating and cricket at large, decided to put behind the episode and move on.
“After a great deal of consideration, the ECB has decided not to appeal the decision of the ICC,” he said. England’s appeal for the match to be relocated was earlier turned down twice by the ICC.
The ICC had to decide whether to hand Zimbabwe the four points as an England forfeit, or to split them between the two teams, or to reschedule the game or relocate it to South Africa. The ZCU had said they would not play the game if it was moved out.
All the teams in pool A have been scheduled to play one league match in Zimbabwe. India, Pakistan, Namibia and Holland had no reservations about playing there, while Australia relented after initial concerns.