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Last Updated: Monday, 17 May, 2004, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Zimbabwe crisis worries ICC
Tatenda Taibu
Tatenda Taibu is leading an inexperienced Zimbabwe side
The International Cricket Council believes Zimbabwe's 15-man player rebellion has prompted concern about the integrity of Test cricket.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed has arrived in Harare for talks with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU).

It comes after a Test series in which a team of unknowns were thrashed in two Tests by the travelling Sri Lankans.

Speed said: "One of the issues we will discuss is the impact these events have on the future of the ZCU."

He went on: "It's fair to say there is widespread concern around the cricket community about the events that have been happening in Zimbabwe.

"In particular, there is concern about the integrity of Test cricket."

On 2 April, Heath Streak was sacked as Zimbabwe captain after he questioned the composition of the country's selection panel.

Fourteen other experienced players supported Streak and made themselves unavailable for selection. The board sacked them on 10 May.

I'm not here to broker a deal, I'm not here to act as a mediator
Malcolm Speed

Speed said the crisis had raised alarms in international cricket circles mainly because it had forced Zimbabwe to select inexperienced squads for the home series against Sri Lanka.

But he said a proposal to scrap one of Zimbabwe's two imminent Test matches against world champions Australia and replace it with two one-day internationals had been turned down.

"That's been suggested in the past and rejected by the ZCU," Speed said.

He was keen to play down the significance of his arrival.

"I'm not here to broker a deal, I'm not here to act as a mediator," he said.

However, he did confirm he would meet the ZCU on Thursday.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Sport's Jonathan Agnew
"Malcolm Speed is in Zimbabwe to monitor the crisis"


ICC president Ehsan Mani
"It's a worry when the integrity of cricket is put into question"



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