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 Friday, 20 December, 2002, 16:46 GMT
Hussain content over Zimbabwe
Marcus Trescothick and Nasser Hussain
England will play their opening World Cup game in Harare
England captain Nasser Hussain has confirmed that he is willing to play in Zimbabwe during the World Cup.

The International Cricket Council announced on Thursday that they were satisfied with the current security situation and that six World Cup games would go ahead in Zimbabwe as originally scheduled.

But there has been pressure on the England and Wales Cricket Board from a number of MPs, who believe the team should stay away in protest at the Mubae regime.

Hussain said: "If the ECB and the ICC say it's fine, then I've got to go on that. I'm a paid employee of the ECB and I'm the England captain.

"If they tell me this is where the World Cup is going to be, it's been checked out and it's safe, and we think it's morally right to go to this place, then I can only do what my bosses tell me."

The Australian Cricket Board have also said they are happy for their team to travel to Zimbabwe, despite cancelling a tour in April because of safety concerns.

"We'll be moving ahead with our World Cup plans, which include an Australia-Zimbabwe fixture in Bulawayo on February 24," said ACB public affairs general manager Peter Young.

"The advice we have received is that the situation in Zimbabwe is totally different to what it was earlier in the year."

Contingency plans

Should the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorate, the ICC has the flexibility to alter the schedule at short notice.

Chief executive Malcolm Speed confirmed that the games could be switched to South Africa, but said: "We certainly would not take that decision lightly."

Steve Waugh batting for New South Wales
Waugh's dream appears to have faded

The ACB, meanwhile, has admitted confusion over the selection procedure for the tournament.

A preliminary squad of 30 has to be halved by the end of the month and the ACB now believes the final 15 must come from the original number.

That would preclude the selectors from choosing Test captain Steve Waugh, who was not included in the initial squad but still hopes to play in the tournament.

"In recent times, the ACB has led members of the media and the general public to believe that players from outside the selected squad of 30 could be chosen in the final squad of 15.

"The ACB, like all other nations fielding a team in the 2003 World Cup has agreed to the terms of the Participating Nations Agreement and under this agreement, this is clearly not the case," said chief executive James Sutherland.

They are now seeking urgent clarification from the ICC.

 ICC chief Malcolm Speed
"Our decisions are based on cricket issues"
Cricket World Cup 2003 begins on 8 February in South Africa

Team news



See also:

19 Dec 02 | Cricket
19 Dec 02 | Cricket
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