New Zealand unlikely to send cricket team to Zimbabwe

February 23rd, 2009 - 1:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Auckland, Feb 23 (IANS) The New Zealand government is unlikely to send its cricket team to Zimbabwe for the series in July.
Prime Minister John Key said that sending the team to politically unstable Zimbabwe will be a risk.

“We are considering the options available to the government, but in our view, Zimbabwe represents a significant risk for the Black Caps,” Key was quoted as saying by The New Zealand Herald.

Key’s comments came at a time when Zimbabwe’s sports minister David Coltart said that he would lobby hard and if needed will fly down here to persuade the New Zealand government.

“My call to the New Zealanders is clear and unequivocal. People have to give this coalition government a chance, and that applies to all levels, cricket included,” Coltart said.

But Key doubted whether Coltart could even come to New Zealand, because of international sanctions against the regime of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Key said that he will ask the Black Caps not to tour Zimbabwe on safety and health grounds. The team should also boycott the country on moral grounds.

“We don’t support that regime. We don’t support what is happening in that country, and we don’t want to give a signal that we do.”

New Zealand toured Zimbabwe in 2005 despite public comments from then Prime Minister Helen Clark, who stopped short of preventing the team from going to Zimbabwe. In 2007, John Howard banned the Australian cricket side from travelling to Zimbabwe.

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