ICC boxed in over Zimbabwe
There's a quiet confidence in cricket circles that the ICC will suspend Zimbabwe from all international cricket next week.
This is based on the significant shift in the position of the South Africans, who have now halted all bilateral cricket relations with Zimbabwe.
The current president of the ICC, Ray Mali, is a South African, as is the new chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, and it will be the president who opens the debate around the table in Dubai on Wednesday, with his views now widely known.
Can you really imagine Mr Lorgat emerging after the meeting to announce that the ICC endorses Zimbabwe Cricket? In the current climate, it is absolutely unthinkable.
However, the England and Wales Cricket Board needs the ICC to act next week because without Zimbabwe's suspension, the ECB and the government would face the decision of having to ban the Zimbabwe team from next summer's World Twenty20.
This is because the government has only barred Zimbabwe's cricketers, for whom we must all feel great sympathy, from the series of one-day internationals which are scheduled for May, and not the Twenty20 tournament in June.
There has been a spurious argument floated by both parties that there is a difference between a bilateral agreement and a world event, although for the life of me I can't see what it is.
It would be outrageously hypocritical to ban Zimbabwe one month on moral grounds, and then allow them in the next simply because England want to host the tournament which, otherwise, would be moved elsewhere.
Mind you, I'm not sure who else would stage it -.certainly Australia, New Zealand and South Africa would object, while the temperature on the sub-continent in June would be overbearing. There would also be the likelihood of Zimbabwe's matches being boycotted by some teams at least, with the tournament then being reduced to a complete farce.
All in all, the ICC has little option but to act. In the opinion of many, it has all happened far too late, but a sporting boycott of Zimbabwe will have little or no impact on the Mugabe regime.