Australia yet to come clear on Zimbabwe issue

June 30th, 2008 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 30 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) is keeping its cards close to chest on the Zimbabwe issue and refused to reveal its stand on the African nation facing suspension threat from the International Cricket Council’s membership. The ICC board’s ongoing meeting in Dubai will discuss whether to suspend Zimbabwe as its Full Member in the wake of political turmoil and violence in the country. The issue has been raised by other members of the governing body.

While the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) have followed the directives of their respective governments to cut bilateral ties with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), India and Pakistan remained supportive of the ZCU, and appear to have the backing of the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

CA Monday entered the opening round of discussions in a delicate political position. A move to support England’s call for Zimbabwe’s removal from the 10-nation ICC panel could harm relations with the Asian bloc.

A backing of India, on the other hand, would not only alienate England, but also stand against CA’s unspoken desire to see Zimbabwe demoted to associate member status.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, a senior West Indian official informed that his board would support Zimbabwe’s bid to retain full membership status.

“We say we want to spread the word, but to remove them would be going backwards,” the official said.

“There is no one ready to take their place, and if they go down, that might as well be the end of them. Yes, there are creeps running the game there, but why should the players suffer? To remove them because of their administrators would be, to our mind, throwing out the baby with the bath water.”

The ZCU is desperate to avoid demotion to associate status, as it would result in a reduction in the several millions of dollars of funding it receives from the ICC annually. Zimbabwe has long allied itself with India, the ICC’s most powerful member, at the voting table, and will be counting on the BCCI’s support for its survival as a full member.

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