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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 04:04 GMT
Thorpe criticises ECB over tour
Graham Thorpe
Thorpe is no longer part of England's one-day side
Graham Thorpe has criticised the England and Wales Cricket Board over its decision to go ahead with the forthcoming trip to Zimbabwe.

Thorpe told the Mail On Sunday: "The players were promised they would never again have to go to Zimbabwe against their own moral judgement.

"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."

England depart on Monday for a tour that begins with warm-up matches in Namibia before five one-day internationals in Zimbabwe.

They then head to South Africa to play five Tests and another one-day series.

I just hope future England cricketers don't have to go through what we've had to
Ashley Giles
Thorpe is not in the Zimbabwe touring party as he has retired from limited-overs internationals but will join the side in South Africa.

The Surrey batsman added: "Players 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 says the ECB "allowed themselves to be bullied by the ICC".

He also claims the ECB in turn "have bullied the players psychologically with threats of what will happen to the game in this country if they don't tour".

Thorpe also says captain Michael Vaughan should have been allowed to rest ahead of a potentially gruelling tour of South Africa.

"It is clear that the captain is going against the wishes of the coach, Duncan Fletcher, who wanted to rest him along with other senior players," he added.

Meanwhile spinner Ashley Giles says it will be a relief to get the Zimbabwe leg of the trip over and head to South Africa.

He told the News of the World: "We've been the ones caught in the middle of all this and Zimbabwe seems to have haunted us for two years now."

"Rightly or wrongly we're going off to do our duty for English cricket - that's how we see it."

The spinner added: "I just hope future England cricketers don't have to go through what we've had to."

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