"We will never compromise on player safety" - Vaughan

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed today that the BLACKCAPS tour to Zimbabwe will not proceed as planned in June.
 
NZC Chief Executive, Justin Vaughan said; “It is clear from our recent discussions that the Government’s assessment of the security situation in Zimbabwe has not changed from that of a year ago, when the BLACKCAPS scheduled tour was postponed,” said Vaughan. 
 
Vaughan said that NZC had communicated this position through to Zimbabwe Cricket and suggested a postponement of the tour until 2011.   “We have a possible window for the rescheduling of the tour next year in May/June.  The other option is that we look at an playing the scheduled tour in a neutral venue.”

Justin Vaughan interview:

On the tour to Zimbabwe being resheduled…

“There’s been speculation around the BLACKCAPS tour to Zimbabwe which is scheduled to take place in June.  This was rescheduled from June of last year and after discussions with the government it’s clear that their position is unchanged and for this reason we are looking to reschedule that tour.  The tour in June won’t go ahead as currently planned.  We will schedule that tour to go back to Zimbabwe around the same time next year but we will also be exploring other options namely that of playing them in a neutral venue.”

On the reason for the tour being rescheduled…

“I suppose you have to ask the government that.  They have stressed that there are security and well being issues around Zimbabwe and they are yet to see any real positive movement in those since the situation was assessed 12 months ago when we made the decision to postpone the tour at that time.”

On this being a joint decision with the government and NZC…

“Yes it has.  We have had discussions predominantly with Minister McCully who obviously traverses both foreign affairs and sport.  He’s given us the advice of the government and we have taken this on board and now we are looking for a postponement of the tour with Zimbabwe Cricket.”

On windows between now and June….

“That would depend on where that other venue might be.  The BLACKCAPS playing schedule is quite chocker from about October so the gap exists, I guess, in that August-September period potentially.  I’m a firm believer that if the situation in Zimbabwe improves that we would like to play there.  A neutral venue is a possibility but certainly a second prize.”

On how many times the tour can be postponed…

“The current Future Tours Programme which exists around scheduling international cricket runs through until April of 2012 so in terms of a defined window, that’s our window.  So pushing it through to May-June 2011 is certainly within that period.”

On playing the series before 2012…

“There are certain clauses that say if the government interviews that New Zealand Cricket is exempt from any liability. We would aim to play that tour before the end of that period.”

On the view of the ICC…

“The ICC are very comfortable for members to make arrangements between themselves around scheduling of tours.  I was at an ICC meeting last week in Dubai. Unfortunately my counterpart from Zimbabwe cricket wasn’t there, his two IC was there and I notified him of the government’s position over the tour and I have since communicated that formally through to the managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket but haven’t yet had a formal response back.”

On when the decision was made…

“I committed to the government that I needed to speak to my counterpart from Zimbabwe Cricket before we made any public announcement.  I had discussion with Minister McCully a couple a weeks ago.”

On the reaction of the players…

“I think they are fairly sanguine about the whole thing. We postponed it last year and I suppose the fact that there’s another postponement they want certainty and want to know when they are going to Zimbabwe and possibly where they are going to play them.  At this stage, as long as Zimbabwe Cricket agree, it would be scheduled for May-June of 2011.”

On player safety being a top priority for NZ Cricket…

“Absolutely.  We will never compromise on player safety.  You’ve seen that with other decisions we’ve made around taking the team into parts of the sub-continent.  So it is of absolute paramount importance.” 

On any penalty being incurred for the tour doesn’t go ahead…

“As long as we can reach a mutual agreement over a time to play them.  I don’t think there is any mechanism where by Zimbabwe Cricket can try and seek damages from New Zealand Cricket.  Within the ICC arrangements there are clauses which basically say if governments intervene the member board cannot be held liable.”

With Thanks To

ANZ Ford
Tui Active Post HRV Specsavers CCC Powerade
Sky Pitch Radio Network TAB Gillette Accor Hotels City Fitness