August 14, 2001

MP calls for cancellation of England's tour of Zimbabwe


England's short tour of Zimbabwe in September and October has been thrown into doubt following the recent unrest in the African country. England are due to play five One-Day Internationals against Zimbabwe before they fly onto India and then New Zealand this winter.

The unrest in Zimbabwe has seen more than 50 white-owned farms attacked and their houses looted, raising questions about the safety of the England cricket team.

Gareth Thomas, the Labour MP and secretary of the all-party parliamentary sports group, told The Times: "To play cricket matches in a country where the Government is clearly condoning violence against its opponents must be questionable.

"Unless the situation improves dramatically this tour should be cancelled."

John Read, the England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman explained that they were concerned with what is happening in Zimbabwe, but still insured that the England tour will not be postponed.

He confirmed: "We are still planning to go ahead but this is being reviewed daily. We will be guided by the Foreign Office."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "We are in close touch with the cricket board. The situation is being monitored."