The Zimbabwe Question February 10, 2004

Stewart urges England to boycott Zimbabwe

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Alec Stewart has urged England to boycott their tour of Zimbabwe later this year. Stewart was part of England's squad in the 2003 World Cup which refused to play in Harare - and he believes the situation is now just as bad as it was then.

Speaking on ITV news yesterday, Stewart said: "Unless things have improved from 12 months ago, then I don't think the tour should go ahead. Is one game of cricket or a series of games of cricket more valuable than someone's life? I think you look at each case individually, and I personally think the tour won't go ahead."

He added, "I think that is very sad because I've been to Zimbabwe and I've played cricket in Zimbabwe, and it's a nice country. The good thing is the ECB are giving it a good nine months -- they should be patted on the back for that."

His comments will only add fuel to the fire and increase the pressure on the ECB, which stands to lose a reported £10 million if it continues to take the hard line. A cancellation of the tour could also result in the ICC switching this September's Champions Trophy to India - which would lose even more money.

The ECB is due to make a final decision on the matter in March.