Zimbabwe to skip next year's T20 World Cup

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Dubai, Jul 4: Zimbabwe have agreed to skip next year's Twenty20 World Cup to be held in England in an attempt to end a stalemate with the ICC, while the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has welcomed the African nation's decision to withdraw from the tournament.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) executive board met for an extra third day here on Friday, July 4, to resolve the deadlock over Zimbabwe, which has lurched from one crisis to another in the last few years. After the conclusion of the board meeting today, the ICC said, ''Zimbabwe Cricket has also taken note that the British government is likely to refuse to grant visas for the Zimbabwe cricket team to take part in the ICC World Twenty20 2009.'' ''Therefore, the Zimbabwe delegation has decided to recommend to its board that the team should withdraw from that event,'' an ICC statement said.

The ICC will set up a sub-committee which will advise the governing body on matters concerning Zimbabwe cricket and the report will also be considered to give back Zimbabwe its full participation in the international game. ''Outgoing ICC President Ray Mali has recommended that a sub-committee be set up, chaired by Dr Julian Hunte (West Indies) and including another ICC Board member Arjuna Ranatunga (Sri Lanka) and an official from the ICC (to be confirmed).

''The role of this sub-committee will be to advise the ICC Board on all matters relating to Zimbabwe cricket including its return to full participation in the international game.

The specific terms of reference for the sub-committee will be finalised in due course,'' the statement added.

The Zimbabwe delegation has undertaken to report back on the decision of its board to the ICC within one month.

''The delegation will report to its board that it will not suffer financially as a result of its non-participation in the ICC World Twenty20 2009.

''The Zimbabwe delegation has agreed to take this decision in the greater interest of world cricket and the ICC. This recommendation should be viewed as a one-off and will not be taken as a precedent,'' it added.

Earlier Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka said his board decided to pull out in the larger interests of the game.

''We have been informed that the British government may not grant visas to our players and that situation may prevail during the Twenty20 World Cup,'' he added. ''We don't want to be gatecrashers,'' Chingoka said.

Meanwhile, Britain Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the decision and said it would help the Twenty20 World Cup to go ahead without any disruptions.

''I welcome the suspension of Zimbabwe from ICC tournaments for a year. This will allow the Twenty20 tournament in England to go ahead,'' Brown said in a statement.

''It also sends a powerful message to Zimbabwe that the government must change or face further isolation,'' he added.

Some countries, led by England and South Africa, had been pushing for Zimbabwe to be stripped of Full Member status but that move had been opposed by India.

UNI

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