Zimbabwe starting to worry about Colombo

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The Independent Online

The bravado of Zimbabwe in the wake of the Colombo bomb has evaporated, with the team following their Australian counterparts in expressing concern about playing their World Cup match in the Sri Lankan capital.

Australia have gone so far as to be on the verge of pulling out of their game in the city on 17 February, following last Wednesday's blast which killed 79.

"If we have to play there we will, but some players are not very happy about going to Colombo," Denis Streak, the Zimbabwe manager, said. The day after the attack he had said his countrymen "knew about war" and would not "worry about a few bombs".

Zimbabwe are now having talks with the International Council about switching the game to either India or Pakistan, the other co-hosts of the 12-nation tournament.

Michael Slater, Shane Warne and the coach, Bobby Simpson, have voiced the concerns of Australia, who were worried about safety even before the explosion. Sri Lanka's acrimonious tour Down Under led to doubts about the reception Australia would receive. Now, the attack, plus a hoax bomb call to the home of Craig McDermott, have led the team to decide it would be too dangerous to play in Colombo even if it means forfeiting the game. An official announcement is expected today.

Sri Lankan officials, who have discounted the threat from Tamil separatists, want the matches in Colombo to go ahead and they have the support of India.