No changes to Africa tour plans but New Zealand monitoring Zimbabwe
Good news for Zimbabwe who will host another series despite unrest.
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand's cricket team will leave for their tour of Africa as scheduled next Monday despite unrest in Zimbabwe, though they will monitor the situation before deciding whether to continue into the country for two tests, a spokesman said on Thursday.
Zimbabwe's capital Harare ground to a halt on Wednesday as people stayed at home while foreign banks and most businesses shut down, in one of the biggest protests against high unemployment, an acute cash shortage and corruption for nearly a decade.
Wednesday's protest followed violent clashes between taxi drivers and police on Monday that led to the arrest of 95 people. It also coincided with a strike by doctors, teachers and nurses whose salaries had been delayed.
"We are continuing to monitor the situation," a New Zealand Cricket spokesman told Reuters. "There is a bit of time and water to go under the bridge ... and at this stage its business as usual."
The team have scheduled a nine-day training camp in Pretoria before they travel to Zimbabwe for the first of two tests at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. The first match starts on July 29, with the second test beginning on Aug. 6.
NZC said the camp would also give them time to monitor developments in Zimbabwe.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) have labelled the southern African country as having "some risk" due to the political unrest.
"The situation in Zimbabwe is mostly calm but some reports of politically-motivated intimidation and violence continue," MFAT said on their website.
"New Zealanders should be vigilant and maintain a high level of personal security awareness in Zimbabwe."
Kane Williamson's side also play South Africa in two tests, with the first at Kingsmead in Durban from Aug. 19-23 and the second in Centurion from Aug. 27.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)