Team reluctant after losing Woolmer March 21, 2007

Chairman tells Pakistan to play final game

Cricinfo staff



The players trained at Sabina Park on Tuesday, but the latest developments have shaken them © Getty Images

A reluctant Pakistan team has been ordered to complete their World Cup commitment by Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman.

The players had earlier wanted to pull out of their last engagement against Zimbabwe at Sabina Park on Wednesday following revelations Bob Woolmer, their coach, might have been murdered. However, a forfeit would have plunged the World Cup into further chaos as it would have tied Zimbabwe and Ireland on points.

The match is inconsequential for Pakistan, who have been knocked out of the tournament, but hugely significant for Zimbabwe and Ireland, whose progress depends on it. Ireland have their noses ahead at the moment, with superior points and net run-rate, but Zimbabwe would have drawn level if Pakistan did not play and could have squeezed ahead if Ireland suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of West Indies on Friday.

Pervez Mir, the Pakistan media manager, had earlier told reporters the Pakistan team management would be speaking to the ICC about pulling out since many of the players were not in the right mental frame to play.

However, he later confirmed the match would go ahead following discussions between the team management and Ashraf, who has resigned from his position, but has not yet been relieved by Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan president, who is also the patron-in-chief of the PCB. The team will be coached by Mushtaq Ahmed, the current bowling coach.

"The confirmation followed a meeting between the Pakistan team management and officials from the local police, the ICC and Cricket World Cup on Tuesday evening," an ICC spokesman said. "The Pakistan management indicated they were comfortable with the arrangements surrounding the team and that the match would take place."

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