ODI World Cup: BCCI look to move India vs Pakistan fixture

The BCCI wants to move the India vs Pakistan match to a day earlier for security reasons due to the Navratri festival on October 15.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering a change in date for the most high-profile match of the ODI World Cup – India vs. Pakistan. In a decision that could have an impact on the entire schedule of the tournament, the board wants to move the match in Ahmedabad from October 15 to October 14.

According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the reason for the sudden development is related to security. October 15 is also the opening day of the Hindu festival Navratri, and the local authorities have informed the BCCI that security would be hard to provide on the day. Navratri is a festival celebrated with night-long Garba dance and is particularly big in Gujarat, where the match is scheduled to take place. 

The BCCI is said to have informed the ICC of the problem, but no definite action has been taken yet. On July 27, the BCCI is expected to have a meeting with all state associations hosting World Cup matches.

“We are mulling the options that we have and a decision will be taken soon. We have been told by the security agencies that a high-profile game like India vs Pakistan, for which thousands of travelling fans are expected to reach Ahmedabad, should be avoided since they will be stretched because of Navratri,” said a source to the Indian Express.

As per the original World Cup schedule, October 14 is a double-header. England are scheduled to face Afghanistan in a day match in Delhi while New Zealand take on Bangladesh in a day-night fixture in Chennai. There are six double-headers scheduled for the tournament but no triple-headers scheduled. If this move gets approved, October 14 could be a triple-header.

The move will have effects on both these teams’ preparation for this marquee clash. India, who kick off their World Cup campaign on October 8 against Australia in Chennai, are due to play Afghanistan on October 11 in Delhi. This would leave India only two days’ gap to travel and prepare for the match against Pakistan.

Things would be even worse for Pakistan, who begin their campaign with a match against Netherlands in Hyderabad on October 6 before taking on Sri Lanka on October 12 at the same venue. If the match gets moved, Pakistan will have only one day gap before the mega clash.

The BCCI announced the World Cup schedule last month, after receiving plenty of backlash for the big delay. They are yet to announce any information on when ticket sales for World Cup matches will be open. 

There’s an enormous amount of build-up for the India vs Pakistan match, with many fans already booking flights and hotels in Ahmedabad for the match. Moreover, there have been reports of people looking to book hospital beds for the day before the match. If the match does get rescheduled, there would be a huge logistics nightmare with mass hotel cancellations.

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