Karachi: All of the objections raised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on the schedule and venues for the national team team in the ODI World Cup in India have been rejected by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
In the final schedule of the World Cup released on Tuesday by the ICC and BCCI, Pakistan’s match against India is scheduled in Ahmedabad as proposed in the draft earlier while PCB’s request to switch venues for the matches against Afghanistan and Australia have been ignored.
As per wishes of the Pakistan team management, the PCB had asked ICC and BCCI to reschedule its match against Afghanistan from Chennai to Bengaluru and the game against Australia from Bengaluru to Chennai.
The Pakistan team management had concerns that given the Chepauk’s history of helping spinners, it would leave the side at a disadvantage against Afghanistan, who have quality spinners.
But none of Pakistan’s objections or requests have been paid heed to and even the semi finals have been scheduled in Mumbai and Kolkata although the PCB has conveyed to the ICC it is not comfortable playing in Mumbai due to political and diplomatic reasons.
The ICC not entertaining Pakistan’s request was on expected lines as it usually addresses concerns over venues on potential security threat and not on cricketing grounds.
With the elections for the post of PCB chairman now postponed at least until July 17, it remains to be seen how the board reacts to the World Cup schedule announcement.
An official source however made it clear that the schedule would be sent to the government for clearance.
“Our participation in the World Cup and us playing in Ahmedabad on October 15 or in Mumbai if we qualify for semi-finals will all be dependent on government clearance,” he said.
He said until now the government had not issued any NOC to the PCB to travel to India and since it was a sensitive issue the board can only move forward after geting clear directives from its government.
“We have already informed the ICC that our participation in the tournament or any issues over venues is linked to firstly the PCB getting clearance from the government to travel to India,” he reminded.
Pakistan last played in India in 2016 in the T20 World Cup.
With the Balochistan High Court issuing a stay order against the holding of elections for the chairman’s seat on Monday on petitions filed by two former members of the PCB’s cricket management committee, confusion reigns in Pakistan cricket over how it will react to the WC schedule.
At present the board is being run by interim chairman, Ahmed Shehzad Farooq Rana.
Zaka Ashraf, nominated for the chairman’s post, has to win votes of the board of governors to officially take charge of the key post.