England players may boycott Zimbabwe tour (Lead)

June 11th, 2008 - 11:02 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 11 (IANS) The England team might boycott next year’s Test and one-day series against Zimbabwe in the wake of allegations of human rights violations there. Zimbabwe are due to play two Tests and three one-day matches in England in summer next year as a precursor to the Ashes series, but England opener Andrew Strauss Tuesday conceded the players might refuse to play if Robert Mugabe’s regime is still in power.

Strauss, also criticised the previous handling of the Zimbabwe issue by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Two previous tours have been very difficult and the players have been left in the lurch by the ECB and the government. It has come down to personal preference and some tough decisions have been made,” Strauss was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph.

When asked about a players’ boycott, Strauss said: “It is something we are going to have to talk about. We have felt in the past that there have been great opportunities for the government to show the strength of feeling that there is among the whole population. There was a general feeling that the last tour should not have gone ahead.”

The result of the second round of Zimbabwe’s presidential vote is due in two weeks’ time and ECB is hoping the issue is resolved by a victory for Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe’s Test status is currently suspended and that is unlikely to change next year. But the one-day series is due to go ahead and Zimbabwe will also be a part of the ICC Twenty20 Championship in England.

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