Graham Thorpe: 'Players are deeply concerned over the political situation in Zimbabwe' © Getty Images

Graham Thorpe, on the eve of the England one-day team's departure for Zimbabwe, has expressed disenchantment with the English Cricket Board which, he claims, told players they would not have to travel to Zimbabwe against their wishes. His comments came after Michael Vaughan's frank admission that he was not enthusiastic about touring Zimbabwe, and that he was "looking forward to it being over".

"When England pulled out of the World Cup match in Harare last year, the ECB promised the players that they would never again be placed in the position of having to go to Zimbabwe against their own moral judgment," Thorpe told The Mail on Sunday. "Here we are, 20 months later, and the players have been left in exactly that position. Players are deeply concerned over the political situation in Zimbabwe. They do not want to be at the centre of protests that could lead to opposition supporters being arrested and mistreated. And they cannot understand a logic that says it was right to pull out of the World Cup match in Harare last year but wrong not to travel now."

Thorpe, who retired from one-day cricket last year, added that Duncan Fletcher, the coach, felt Vaughan would be better served with a rest, rather than touring. "It is clear that the captain is going against the wishes of the coach, who wanted to rest him along with other senior players."