ICC likely to avoid ban on Zimbabwe but may suspend it from ODIs

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Dubai, Jul 2 (UNI) The International Cricket Council (ICC) today made it clear that it will not bow to the demands of Zimbabwe board being banned but added that a possible suspension for the country's limited-overs side is very much on the cards.

''It will be difficult for the ICC to remove Zimbabwe from the its members' list,'' an ICC official said here, where the governing body's executive board began its two-day meeting today.

The official, however, said no decision was taken on the first day of the meeting.

''We cannot make any official announcement until the board meeting is finished,'' he added.

England had led a call to suspend the Zimbabwe board, which England has led a call to suspend the Zimbabwe board, which is lurching from one crisis to another following the country's controversial presidential election run-off last week, when Robert Mugabe retained power unopposed.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has backed strong action after the British government asked it to suspend cricketing ties with Zimbabwe.

Although South Africa has already suspended all bilateral programmes with its neighbour, the influential Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is opposed to the Zimbabwe board being suspended.

With seven of the 10 full-member nations required to back any resolution, the executive board could discuss whether Zimbabwe should be temporarily barred from one-day and Twenty20 internationals.

Such a move, if successful, will keep Zimbabwe out of next year's Twenty20 World Cup to be staged in England.

The ICC are scheduled to hold a news conference later today if a decision is made on Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's national team have not played Test cricket since January 2006 following a series of confrontations between senior players and the administration.

In March, an independent audit found serious financial irregularities in the board's accounts but the ICC did not call for any sanctions, arguing that no evidence of criminality and no individuals had gained financially.

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