The future of the Sharjah Cup, scheduled to be held between April 1 and April 10 in the United Arab Emirates, has been thrown into doubt after South Africa withdrew today, citing safety fears due to the ongoing war in Iraq.
Gerald Majola, Chief Executive Officer of the United Cricket Board of South Africa, said, "We value our players and officials and we cannot continue with the tour when there is concern about their safety. We received an advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs informing us not to travel to the Gulf region under the current circumstances prevailing there. We are however, engaged in discussions with the tournament organizers as to possible alternative venues and or dates for the tournament to be held."
This seems just a touch hypocritical based on the South African World Cup Authorities' refusal to take into account the safety fears of England and New Zealand over the controversially-forfeited Group Matches.
It is now unsure whether the Tournament will be rescheduled or continue with a replacement for South Africa joining Sri Lanka and Pakistan, who have both named experimental line-ups including many players with little or no ODI experience. Bangladesh and India are committed to a tri-series later in April (also with South Africa) so will be unlikely to play twice in a month so soon after the World Cup. New Zealand are enjoying an end-of-season break before a tour of Sri Lanka, Australia and the West Indies are shortly due to play Tests and ODIs in the Caribbean, and England are preparing for the English summer season after an exhausting winter.
That just leaves Zimbabwe - who are in no fit state to tour anywhere at the present moment - or Kenya...