Cricket World Cup in Zimbabwe in turmoil


Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said today that he was against World Cup cricket being played in his country because President Robert Mugabe would use it for propaganda.

"We support cricket but we don't support the holding of world matches in Zimbabwe because Mugabe will exploit it for his advantage and credibility," Tsvangirai told the BBC.

"If the England captain (Nasser Hussain) is aware of the situation in Zimbabwe, I don't think he will find it appropriate to come to a country where everything is collapsing politically, economically and socially.

"If he comes, he will be endorsing the illegitimate Mugabe regime."

Pressure has been building on both the England and Australia teams not to take part in World Cup games that have been scheduled for Zimbabwe in February as a protest to Mugabe's human rights record.

The six-week long competition which gets underway on February 8th is mainly being held in South Africa but six first round games have been scheduled for Zimbabwe and two for Kenya.

England are due to play Zimbabwe in Harare on February 13th and Australia take on the African side in Bulawayo on Fevruary 24th. Namibia, India, Netherlands and Pakistan also have matches in Zimbabwe

The International Cricket Council (ICC) which organises the event has said it is safe enough in the country for the matches to go ahead but both the British and Australian governments have come out strongly against the games being staged as planned.

English and Australian players have said it is up to the governments to decide whether they go or not, but both London and Canberra have said that they do not have the powers to prevent their cricket teams from playing in Zimbabwe.