ICC World Cup schedule: ‘Too early’ to comment, says PCB official

ICC World Cup schedule: ‘Too early’ to comment, says PCB official

ISLAMABAD:  It is “too early” to share comments on Pakistan’s proposed matches in the recently issued tentative schedule for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told The News.

The cricketing body remained tight-lipped on the proposed Pakistan-India blockbuster in Ahmedabad on October 15, saying that the schedule will come under strict scrutiny.

The PCB official further said that the tentative schedule circulating among the participating countries would come under thorough scrutiny before any reaction could be given to the proposed matches, especially the one against India on October 15.

“We have just received the proposed schedule. The 2023 ODI matches schedule has been circulated among participating countries to get their feedback and reaction to the proposed matches, especially the one where that particular nation is engaged. It is too early to share comments on Pakistan’s proposed matches,” he said.

Pakistan are expected to start their ODI World Cup campaign with back-to-back matches against qualifiers on October 6 (Hyderabad) and October 12 (Hyderabad).

The Green Shirts’ next match will be against India on October 15 in Ahmedabad, followed by a match against Australia on October 20 (Bengaluru) and October 23 against Afghanistan (Chennai).

According to the proposed schedule, Chennai will also host the Pakistan-South Africa match on October 27, followed by the October 31 match in Kolkata against Bangladesh.

The Pakistan-New Zealand match is proposed for November 5 in Bengaluru, with Kolkata hosting Pakistan’s match against England on November 12.

In all, Pakistan will play nine matches in a single league format (all teams playing against each other), which will directly enter into the semi-finals.

“Within the next few days, we are to discuss the schedule within the Board and if required will take government consent on the matter also. So far there has been no development yet,” the official said.

When asked whether the PCB has consented to Pakistan’s playing in India without government approval or whether the approval has already been sought, he said it was not like that.

“We have already made it clear that Pakistan’s participation in any cricketing event in India depends on government approval. The PCB alone cannot take any decision on playing in India without the government approval,” he said.

The PCB has already sought assurances on the team’s security in India, particularly against Hindu extremists.

“We are concerned about the security of the Pakistan cricketers and want ICC guarantee on that even if our government allows us to cross over the border to play in India,” he said.

Even the ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice was very particular about players’ safety.

In a recent statement, he said: “In some places, there is a lot of consultation within the cricket system and with governments, etc. There is a lot of responsibility on the host to put on a good event, and they have to go through that.”

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