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England refusing to play in the World Cup?
Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2002

Cricket World Cup: Misgivings mount as England's participation is given Short shrift

By Hugh Bateson, Independent/UK

The prospect of England refusing to play in the World Cup in Zimbabwe in February came much closer yesterday when the captain, Nasser Hussain, appealed for the Government to make a decision and said the team would boycott the country if told to do so, and a spokesman at 10 Downing Street said: "We have no power to order a team not to go. It is up to them, but our advice is that they should not go."

At the same time, the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, was reported to have said he would not visit the country, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, let it be known he was against the trip and another Cabinet minister, Clare Short, called the idea of England playing there "deplorable and shocking" and said she would raise the issue with Tessa Jowell, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport.

Hussain, writing in his column in a Sunday newspaper, said the decision to go or not should not be made by cricketers, but by a "government body". "Even if it means that England will forfeit points by not playing in Zimbabwe that would be willingly done if the Government believes it right that England should not play. Cricket comes a long way down the list of what is important, especially compared with people starving," he said. MORE

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