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Cricket NZ looks at Zimbabwe tour risks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/07/2016

The New Zealand cricket team will leave for their tour of Africa as scheduled on Monday despite unrest in Zimbabwe.

A NZC spokesman says the safety of touring Zimbabwe will be monitored and assessed while the team undergoes a training camp in South Africa before they arrive in Zimbabwe for a two-Test tour which spans three weeks.

The Black Caps are scheduled to play a warm-up game in Harare starting on July 22, followed by Tests in Bulawayo from July 28 and August 6.

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 over unpaid salaries.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation," the NZC spokesman said.

"There is a bit of time and water to go under the bridge ... and at this stage its business as usual."

NZC said the nine-day training camp in Pretoria would also give them time to monitor developments in Zimbabwe.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has 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," the ministry said on its website.

"New Zealanders should be vigilant and maintain a high level of personal security awareness in Zimbabwe."

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