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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 17:21 GMT
Broad and Gatting back ECB
ECB chief executive Tim Lamb breaks the news on Tuesday
Broad said ECB boss Tim Lamb had no other option
Former England cricket stars have given their backing to the England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) decision to go ahead with the match in Zimbabwe during the World Cup.

The ECB had come under pressure from the British government to withdraw England from the game, which is due to take place in Harare on 13 February.

But the ECB announced on Tuesday that there would be no boycott.

Former England opener Chris Broad thought the Board took the only course of action open to it.

At the end of the day it's one lone match and will it make any difference?

Ex-England captain
Mike Gatting

"I don't think the ECB had a choice," Broad told BBC Sport Online. "They were put in a position where they were guided by the ICC (International Cricket Council).

"The Government wanted them to make another decision but I don't think that was ever an option.

"I listened to the statement that Tim Lamb (ECB chief executive) read out and it was clearly a well-thought out statement covering all points and I don't disagree with any of it."

Broad added that the board was merely following the instructions from the ICC.

"The focus was put on the England cricket side (by the government)," said Broad.

"Therefore the ECB, who are the governing body of the England cricket side, had to come out and make a statement reiterating what the ICC has said."

Bad situation

Ex-England captain Mike Gatting also supported the ECB's decision to travel, but he stressed that the board and players were aware of the situation in the troubled African country.

"Nobody likes what's going on over there at all, let's make that perfectly clear, and I think Tim Lamb made that perfectly clear as well," said Gatting.

Gatting admitted that he could understand why the Zimbabwean opposition, the MDC, had called for England to boycott the country in protest at the repressive regime of President Robert Mugabe.

"I think you'll find that those sort of people will (not want the England team to go to Zimbabwe) and I understand why they are doing it," said Gatting.

"But at the end of the day it's one lone match and will it make any difference?"

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 Mike Gatting, former England captain
"It is one lone match and will it make any difference?"
 ECB boss Tim Lamb
"We are going to honour our commitment to play"
 VOTE RESULTS
Should the England team toe the ECB line?

Yes
 47.13% 

No
 52.87% 

4392 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Calls grow for World Cup matches in Zimbabwe to be boycotted

Zimbabwe decision

Background

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