Counties expected to back ECB's tour stance

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The Independent Online

The county sides are expected to resist pressure exerted by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and will support the decision made by the England and Wales Cricket Board about England's proposed tour there later this year.

Reports claimed that the ZCU chairman, Peter Chingoka, had intensified the pressure on his counterparts at Lord's by e-mailing all the county chief executives outlining why October's controversial tour should go ahead.

"As beneficiaries of substantial ECB grants you and your colleagues must judge whether the risk of further major financial penalties is an acceptable consequence," Chingoka wrote in the e-mail.

Chingoka's move came 24 hours before the management board of the ECB are due to discuss a report written by board member Des Wilson, which set out a "framework for rational decision-making" on whether to tour troubled countries and will finalise their decision at a meeting of their executive board next month.

It was a strategy designed to unsettle the ECB, but instead of undermining the counties' support for the ECB, Chingoka's attempts appear to have had the opposite effect with many of the chief executives claiming not to have received the e-mail and others coming out in support of the management board at Lord's.

"The position is very straightforward," said Mark Newton, Worcestershire's chief executive. "The counties have allowed the management board to make that decision for us because we believe they are the best qualified to do that. You can always put pressure on people if you want to but that doesn't mean they will necessarily respond to it and I fail to see how sending an e-mail like this is going to help Zimbabwe cricket at all."