England players cancel flight to Harare - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England players cancel flight to Harare

25/11/2004 05:49:31 AM Comments (0)

England's cricket players cancelled their flight to Harare Wednesday after several British journalists were refused entry to Zimbabwe to cover the team's controversial tour.

The players emerged from a meeting in the transit lounge at Johannesburg's international airport and said they would not be boarding their scheduled flight.

Their first game against Zimbabwe is in Harare on Friday.

"We are spending a night at a Johannesburg hotel pending further discussions with Zimbabwe authorities on this," England and Wales Cricket Board spokesman Andrew Walpole said.

The Zimbabwe government denied entry to 13 cricket journalists who were to cover the tour by Michael Vaughan and the rest of his 16-man squad.

Reporters from the BBC, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Times, News of the World, The Sun and the Daily Mirror were banned.

Ehsan Mani, president of the International Cricket Council, earlier hinted that England may yet be able to cancel the tour. Mani pointed out that no individual player should be punished if he chose to withdraw.

The squad was in transit from Namibia, where it participated in a warmup match. It was scheduled to arrive at 9pm local time (0600 AEDT).

After playing two one-day internationals at Harare Sports Club, on Friday and Sunday, the team was scheduled to depart for a one-hour flight to Bulawayo and three more matches at Queens Sports Club before moving to Johannesburg on Monday December 6 for a five-test tour of South Africa.

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