New Zealand Cricket welcomes postponement of Zimbabwe tour

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Wellington (New Zealand), Feb 25 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan and New Zealand players boss Heath Mills have both welcomed the decision to postpone the Black Caps' controversial tour of Zimbabwe, saying it will allow some "breathing space" to sort out the difficult situation in the African nation.

Amidst growing pressure from the New Zealand government, the New Zealand and Zimbabwe cricket associations confirmed this morning that the July tour would be postponed for a year until 2010.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key had voiced his concerns over the political unrest and deteriorating financial, health and social problems in Zimbabwe and even hinted that the Black Caps might be prevented from travelling there.

A spokesman for Key said this morning the Government welcomed the decision.

"It's obviously a good outcome from our point of view. We didn't have anything directly to do with it," the spokesman said.

Sport and Recreation Minister Murray McCully said: "We welcome the decision and believe it is a sensible outcome".

Today's developments will clearly ease concerns among New Zealand players.

Mills, the executive manager for the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, said: "I think it's a very sensible decision by both the New Zealand and Zimbabwe cricket associations.

"Clearly the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe isn't great. From a players' perspective we were very uncomfortable about the team being in Zimbabwe while there are issues about cholera, water shortages and there are some question marks about the standard of medical care etc. That was going to be a big issue for us."

"Maybe there will be some progress made and our government will be more comfortable about the team travelling to Zimbabwe.

At the end of the day that is their decision, not ours.

The decision to postpone the tour came after discussions between Zimbabwe Cricket chief executive Ozias Bvute and Vaughan, during the International Cricket Council's chief executives' conference in Johannesburg.

It is understood by postponing the tour by mutual agreement with their Zimbabwe counterparts New Zealand Cricket will avoid substantial financial penalties.

Speaking to RadioSport from Johannesburg, Vaughan said he was pleased to get the agreement and that it made sense.

New Zealand Cricket's general manager of cricket, Geoff Allott, also commented that the solution allowed time to review the situation in Zimbabwe from a political and a cricketing perspective. (ANI)

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