England assess security inside Zimbabwe October 18, 2004

ICC decision means tour almost certain to proceed

Wisden Cricinfo staff

England will almost certainly have to tour Zimbabwe following the ICC's decision to clear the Zimbabwe board (ZCU) of all allegations of racism.

A delegation from the England & Wales Cricket Board arrives in Harare today to assess the security arrangements for the tour. It was over concerns with player safety that England refused to play in Zimbabwe during the 2003 World Cup.

John Carr, the ECB's director of operations, and Richard Bevan, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, will meet with ZCU officials, as well as representatives of the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition. The pair will report their findings to the ECB next week.

The ICC's decision to allow Zimbabwe to resume Test cricket will almost certainly mean that England again come under international pressure to play them. Whereas the ECB seems to have just about got away with the one-day series, the potential problems associated with a full tour would be significantly increased. The honeymoon period for David Collier, the ECB's new chief executive, might be brief.