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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 12:31 GMT
Morgan: Security threat was real
England captain Nasser Hussain
Hussain and his players arrived back in England on Thursday
World Cup organisers privately supported the safety fears of England cricketers in Zimbabwe, according to England and Wales Cricket Board chairman David Morgan.

Morgan says International Cricket Council security bosses backed worries about death threats from "The Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe" organisation, despite publicly stating otherwise.

"We received a letter via the ICC security directorate which made a very clear statement that the Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe was an organisation that did pose a threat to the safety and security of our cricketers," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

Morgan's statement came just after England arrived home, having failed to make it past the group stage of the World Cup.

Nasser Hussain's men were docked four points when they decided to pull out of the fixture against Zimbabwe in Harare because of fears over player safety.

The ECB handled a very difficult situation as well as it could be handled
ECB chairman David Morgan
The ECB asked for the match to be rescheduled, but the World Cup technical committee said their safety and security concerns were "not justified".

England would have been likely to qualify for the Super Six stage if they had not forfeited the points and their exit was followed by the resignation of Hussain as one-day captain.

The England skipper reiterated his position at Heathrow Airport on Thursday: "I made my decision throughout the winter and the bottom line had nothing to do with the captaincy.

"I don't believe I warrant a place in the one-day side and my decision was retiring from one-day international cricket.

"Unfortunately, I'm the captain which means I have to step down as captain of the one-day side as well."

With the team back in England, the ECB is set to review the team's poor performances in Australia and South Africa.

"It's been a disappointing winter, there's no doubt about it at all," said Morgan.

"But there were many extenuating circumstances, beginning on the first day of the Ashes series with Simon Jones' injury and the lack of early fitness of Darren Gough and Andrew Flintoff.

"It was wrong to send an unfit Darren Gough on the beginning of the tour, but the review of the whole of the winter is still to be carried out."

Despite criticism during the Zimbabwe situation, Morgan maintained the ECB had done everything they could at the time.

"I think the ECB handled a very difficult situation as well as it could be handled," he added.

"I think the reporting of the decision-making we undertook has been pretty poor.

"Our only reason for not going to Zimbabwe was that we could not find clear-cut guarantees for the safety and security of the players, officials and their families."




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