Friday, July 4, 2008

Zimbabwe pull out of World Twenty20

Zimbabwe have agreed to pull out of next year's Twenty20 World Cup in England, clearing the roadblocks for the competition to be staged there, but will retain their status as Full Member of the ICC and receive funding as usual. They will also receive their full participation fee for the tournament.
"We have decided to pull out in the larger interests of the game,"

Peter Chingoka, the chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, told Cricinfo.

"We have been informed that the British government may not grant visas to our players, and that situation may prevail during the Twenty20 World Cup. We don't want to be gatecrashers."

"It was a collective decision and I was a part of that decision,"

Sharad Pawar, the BCCI president, told Cricinfo.

"The full membership of Zimbabwe is currently not in doubt,"

ICC president David Morgan said.

"There was not even a discussion on the issue of Zimbabwe's membership. Everybody stands to benefit from the decision. Zimbabwe will be entitled to participation fees in the tournament like any other member. The ICC could not jeopardise the tournament."

The decision, Chingoka said, pertained only to the tournament in England.

"We are now looking forward to more tours and international cricket with our Asian friends, especially India."

The Zimbabwe issue had occupied a large part of the discussions during the ICC executive board meeting, which carried over to an unscheduled third day on Friday after a failure to reach a consensus.

Some countries, led by England and South Africa, had been pushing for Zimbabwe to be stripped of Full Member status but that move had been opposed by India.

Ray Mali, the former ICC president, has recommended the setting up of a sub-committee to "advise the ICC board on all matters relating to Zimbabwe cricket including its return to full participation in the international game. The specific terms of reference for the sub-committee will be finalised in due course." The sub-committee, if approved, will chaired by Julian Hunte, the head of the West Indies board, and include Arjuna Ranatunga and another official (who hasn't been confirmed).

Norman Arendse, the president of Cricket South Africa, was satisfied with the ICC's resolution on Zimbabwe.

"Cricket South Africa welcomes the ICC resolution on Zimbabwe as a step forward in the right direction,"

Arendse said.

"The Zimbabwe issue is difficult and complex, and was discussed at length. At least, the ICC decision extricates all Full Member countries from the potential problem of the Twenty20 tournament to be played in England in 2009.

"CSA's recently articulated position in relation to Zimbabwe Cricket will, however, remain as is, until the Zimbabwe situation is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties concerned."

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