Players to decide on Zimbabwe tour

Wellington: New Zealand PM Helen Clark doesn’t support a tour to Zimbabwe by the national cricket team, but her government isn’t prepared to underwrite any financial penalties resulting from a player boycott. Replying to a question in Parliament, Clark restated her personal view that the tour should not proceed but said any moral decision on the August tour should be left to individual players. The International Cricket Council could fine New Zealand as much as $2 million for defaulting on its playing obligations, including the trip to Zimbabwe which forms part of its international schedule of tours. The possibility of such a penalty is expected to heavily influence any decision taken by New Zealand Cricket when it considers whether the tour should proceed. New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden has refused to comment as pressure increases on individual cricketers to boycott Zimbabwe. Green Party lawmaker Dr Rod Donald has written to all of NZC’s contracted players, urging them to “look to their consciences” and refuse to tour on moral grounds. “I was expressing my personal view, but the decision as to whether the New Zealand cricket team tours Zimbabwe is one for the players and New Zealand Cricket to make,” Clark said. — AP