Morgan left alone in a spin over Mugabe handshake

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David Morgan, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, will be left to decide whether or not to shake President Robert Mugabe's hand on the tour of Zimbabwe.

David Morgan, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, will be left to decide whether or not to shake President Robert Mugabe's hand on the tour of Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe may be present at one of England's one-day internationals in his role as patron of Zimbabwe Cricket and his actions will be heavily scrutinised. Morgan conceded that it would be "a difficult call" after Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's handshake with the Zimbabwean leader when they met in New York in September was severely criticised.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday revealed Morgan would have to decide for himself. "We cannot tell him what to do," a spokesman said.

Morgan has lobbied his Zimbabwe counterparts to ensure Michael Vaughan's tourists are not used to make political capital during their 10-day stay."Whether that extends to officials is not sure," the spokesman added. "We would rather the tour have been postponed until Zimbabwe is in a better state."

Morgansaid: "The Foreign Secretary has in recent times shaken the hand of Mr Mugabe. It will be a difficult call. I've had confidential advice from the Foreign Office and that advice will be uppermost in my mind.

"We have sympathy with the people here but the ECB is in business - our trade is cricket and the revenue part is international cricket. We have to play by the rules of the International Cricket Council and member countries are not allowed to avoid tours - for moral reasons - as part of the future tours programme."

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