ICC looks to build consensus on Zimbabwe
As the debate over Zimbabwe's cricketing future continues, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is hoping to reach a consensus rather than go to a vote on the issue.
England and South Africa have cut their ties with the political violence under president Robert Mugabe's regime showing no sign of abating, but much will depend on India, the moneybags of the sport. They hold the key to any decision.
Speaking to me from Dubai, ICC president Ray Mali said: "It is not easy to suspend or ban an organisation from the ICC. Our rules are very complicated. I would like to avoid a vote and reach a consensus.
"I would like to hear what the member countries have to say. I am a supporter of Zimbabwe cricket but not a supporter of the regime in Zimbabwe."
Mali's comments follow the British government's statement on Wednesday that it would like the ICC to arrive at a "positive outcome" on the issue of Zimbabwe - meaning it wants the country to be excluded from cricket's world governing body.
And on Thursday, he told me: "The South African decision was taken because the situation in Zimbabwe has changed and, as the leader of the world body for cricket, it is my intention to resolve the issue."
These new comments from Mali suggest there may be some sort of compromise whereby Zimbabwe are excluded from all international competition on the grounds that their teams - in all forms of the game - are simply not good enough.
I also understand that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will make a strong case for the decision being taken on sporting grounds, while also arguing that the broadcasters of next year's ICC World Twenty20, to be held in England, will not want Zimbabwe to participate.
But, as is so often the case when it comes to cricket politics, India's stance will be vital.
The Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) has always held the view that governments should not dictate matters in cricket.
I understand that BCCI president Shard Pawar is strongly of this view and has made this clear to his fellow board members at the ICC. Interestingly, Pawar himself is a minister in the Indian government's cabinet.
But - unlike the boards of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - the Indian government plays no role in the running of cricket in the country. The BCCI is elected by its constituent member associations, whereas the governments in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh play a major role in deciding who runs their country's cricket.
So a decision on cricketing grounds - that the present situation has meant Zimbabwe is incapable of competing internationally - may be more acceptable to the Indians.
And here the advice of South Africa, appointed by the ICC to guide Zimbabwean cricket, could well be crucial.
Pawar has been in London and met ECB president Giles Clarke on Wednesday to have a lengthy discussion about the issue of Zimbabwe.
It is possible that any Indian decision to support the ECB in trying to achieve the "positive outcome" on Zimbabwe that the British government wants may involve a deal on the issue of county players playing for the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).
The BCCI do not want these players to be involved in the Twenty20 Champions Trophy matches planned for later this year.
Ironically, Wednesday night saw the Long Room at Lord's host a celebration dinner to mark the 25th anniversary of India winning the World Cup in 1983 with several rebel ICL players present.
The most prominent of them was Kapil Dev, the captain of the 1983 team but now a leading light of ICL. He sat at the same table as Pawar and made the major speech of the evening.
This was a night of celebration for Indian cricket and Zimbabwe was far from everyone's thoughts. However, my impression was that India have been impressed by South Africa's decision to cut ties with Zimbabwe and may take their lead from them.
The other Asian countries are likely to follow India's lead, and the West Indies could follow suit.
They are also likely to be influenced by former South Africa president Nelson Mandela's condemnation of events in Zimbabwe.
The ICC record in dealing with Zimbabwe is not impressive. As I have chronicled in my blog for the last year, there has been much debate and anguish about Zimbabwe cricket's accounts leading to a major split between former chief executive Malcolm Speed and Mali.
At that time Mali and South Africa were seen as supporters of Zimbabwe; now Mali appears to have changed his position.
But even still, finding a solution that pleases the British government and carries the support of Mali's fellow board members will be difficult.