England cricketers may refuse to play Zimbabwe

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The Independent Online

England's cricketers will consider refusing to play against Zimbabwe in the Test and one-day Test series scheduled in this country next year. The team's opening batsman Andrew Strauss told a packed house at Lord's last night: "There was a general feeling that the last tour should not have gone ahead and if it comes around again we will have to talk about it."

Strauss delivered his comments in a panel question-and-answer session following the annual MCC Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket lecture, given by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The archbishop also spoke out against President Robert Mugabe's regime and told reporters that the International Cricket Council had to act. He asked spectators to boycott matches.

Strauss said that two previous tours to Zimbabwe had been very difficult."The players have been left in the lurch by the ECB and the government," he added.

Asked if the players might refuse to play, he replied: "It's something we're going to have to talk about. We have felt in the past that there have been great opportunities to show the strength of feeling that there is among the whole population.">