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We were right: Hussain
Mike Selvey (The Guardian), PTI
February 14, 2003
First Published: 02:26 IST(14/2/2003)
Last Updated: 02:26 IST(14/2/2003)

The Harare sports club will be quiet this morning. No crowd, no demonstrations, no Andy Flower or Henry Olonga, and of course no England.

"It is a shame," said the England captain Nasser Hussain in Cape Town yesterday. "That is the one bad thing that has come out of this - not going to the game. It is a ground we like playing at and I'm sure there has been a lot of effort that has gone into that match."

The International Cricket Council put the game on hold after England's refusal to fly to Harare on grounds of safety. Now England await the decision of the World Cup technical committee on whether the fixture should be rescheduled in South Africa on a later date. Their submission, citing security concerns, must be in place by four this afternoon, with a hearing possibly at the end of this week.

Hussain knows, though, that however close he and his side came to deciding to fulfill the fixture against Zimbabwe, in the end it was neither appropriate nor feasible that they went. "It has been a drain for me personally and for the team as a whole," he said. "While it was us making a decision we were being asked to weigh up the pros and cons, consider the people of Zimbabwe, the politics and moral points and the wellbeing of the future of the game in England and worldwide. It was a lot to ask.

"We went this way and that. The opening ceremony was an emotional occasion, for example, and it changed the view of a few of the side. But in the end my gut feeling is that we have done the right thing. I just hope that all those who have been voicing concerns in the media and elsewhere keep doing so in order that some good may come of it."

Hussain said he had had numerous discussions with Andy Flower and at times even the former Zimbabwe captain had no advice. "In the two days when both of the sides were in Cape Town for the opening ceremony I spoke to him a lot, as I have done all winter about this," said Hussain, "and even he has gone one way and then the other.

He wasn't sure what we should do and couldn't really advise us as he had his own decisions to make. But I am sure the Zimbabwe players understand what we have been going through."


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