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Australia “cautiously” confirm tri-series encounter

Australia has confirmed that their cricket tour of Zimbabwe will go ahead despite a bomb going off at President Emerson Mnangagwa’s rally in Bulawayo.

By SportBrief Reporter

The Australia cricket team’s plans to tour Zimbabwe have remained undeterred despite a bomb blast at a rally in Bulawayo in what is believed to have been an attempt on President Emerson Mnangagwa’s life.

The Aussies are due to take on Zimbabwe and Pakistan, with the T20 tri-series to run July 1-8 in Harare.

However, serious questions were beginning to hang over Australia’s first tour of Zimbabwe since dictator Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign ended in last year’s military coup.

This came following an incident in which the nation’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the subject of an apparent assassination attempt when he survived a deadly explosion during a party rally at a Bulawayo stadium.

The nation is due to hold an election on July 30, with President Mnangagwa seeking to bolster his government’s legitimacy after seizing power.

However, Cricket Australia (CA) has somewhat confirmed that the tour would go on albeit in a cautious manner.

“The safety and security of our players and support staff is paramount and as always, we will take advice from the relevant Australian authorities,” a CA spokesperson said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is warning Australians that “instances of conflict cannot be ruled out in the lead up to, during and soon after the election” and “the security situation could deteriorate quickly”.

Australian visitors are currently advised to “exercise a high degree of caution in Zimbabwe”.

Although the ICC is currently assessing the security situation in relation to its match officials, local broadcasters are expecting the tri-series to go ahead.

This is after CA is said to have received assurances on several fronts, including security, during a routine pre-tour visit earlier this month.

Apparently, that is not the only issue that’s affecting the status of the series with Zimbabwean cricketers and their board currently engaged in a stand-off over unpaid match fees that date back almost a year.

Ultimately, this could mean that the hosts will field an XI minus some of their best players with veteran batsman Brendan Taylor, the overall leading run-scorer at the World Cup qualification tournament in March, headlined a list of stars absent from Zimbabwe’s T20 squad.

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