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Ahmedabad set for seal, PCB plans venue recce

World Cup: Ahmedabad set for seal, Pakistan Cricket Board plans venue recce

PCB has been demanding a change citing security concerns and has left it to their government to take a call

Indranil Majumdar Calcutta Published 23.06.23, 07:21 AM
PCB chairman-designate Zaka Ashraf.

PCB chairman-designate Zaka Ashraf. File photo

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is unlikely to approve a change of venue for their big-ticket clash against Pakistan in the World Cup in Ahmedabad on October 15.

The Pakistan Cricket Boa­rd (PCB) has been demanding a change citing security concerns and has left it to their government to take a call. Chairman-designate Zaka Ashraf is expected to intensify the process once he assumes charge.

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to release the fixtures at an event in Mumbai on June 27 without making any changes to the draft document.

Sources told The Telegraph that a security delegation will visit Ahmedabad to assess the situation closer to the match date and then move the ICC for a shift in venue.

With BCCI adamant to host the high-profile match at the Motera stadium itself, such a plan may not yield much result. The PCB has voiced concerns about the security of its players and supporters.

Will they won’t they? The Motera stadium is in focus over Pakistan’s proposed World Cup league match against India.

Will they won’t they? The Motera stadium is in focus over Pakistan’s proposed World Cup league match against India. Getty Images

Pakistan had adopted the same tactics during the 2016 T20 World Cup, the last time they toured India, and are hoping that things will fall into place this time too. However, the then Himachal Pradesh government was also against hosting the India-Pakistan encounter in Dharamsala, which was ultimately shifted to Eden Gardens 10 days before the match.

That is unlikely to happen this time, and with Pakistan agreeing to play the final in Ahmedabad, in the event they make it, the BCCI’s hand has been strengthened.

“Since they are willing to play the final at the same venue, it means they are satisfied with the security. Even the final could be an India-Pakistan affair. Then why these concerns about the October 15 match?” a BCCI official asked.

The ICC states that a venue can be changed only on the grounds of security or if it is considered unfit for an international fixture. The selection of a venue is the prerogative of hosts BCCI, in consultation with the ICC.

The BCCI and ICC have already turned down a request from the PCB to swap the ve­nues of two of their league ma­tches in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The PCB’s request apparently didn’t cite any particular reason for the change.

No host agreement yet

Sources told The Telegraph that the PCB hasn’t yet signed the host agreement with the ICC for the 2025 Champions Trophy citing India’s refusal to tour their country. The PCB has also demanded compensation in the event of India not playing in Pakistan and the matter was discussed when ICC chairman Greg Barclay and CEO Geoff Allardice visited the country earlier this month.

An ICC spokesperson desc­ribed it as “not an issue” and insisted that the PCB “certainly hasn’t refused to sign it and everything is in process”.

India has declined to visit Pakistan for the Asia Cup in August-September, prompting the PCB to adopt the hybrid model whereby four matches would be played in Lahore and the rest in Sri Lanka.

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