Pakistan request ICC for World Cup venue changes

Pakistan have asked the ICC to change the venues for their matches against Australia and Afghanistan in this year’s ODI World Cup.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has requested the International Cricket Council (ICC) to make some changes to their venues in the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup in India. The board wants their matches against Australia and Afghanistan at different venues than the proposed draft by the BCCI. 

Pakistan are currently slated to face Australia in Bengaluru on October 20 and Afghanistan in Chennai on October 23. But they have requested for a swap, where they meet Afghanistan in Bengaluru and play Australia in Chennai. 

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PCB have given no specific reasoning to the ICC for this request but according to an internal note obtained by ESPNcricinfo, they believe the change in venues would make them favourites in both games. The reports suggest that this request was made after consultation with their data analyst.

“Australia in Bengaluru and Afghanistan in Chennai are the two which we should look to get changed as much as possible. Ideally, we can switch these around. Australia in Chennai and Afghanistan in Bengaluru would make us obvious favourites in both matches,” stated the PCB’s internal note.

It remains unknown whether the ICC have responded to PCB’s request or if they would even entertain it. Pakistan have raised several other concerns about the proposed schedule in this internal note. 

Pakistan are scheduled to play one of their warm-up games against Afghanistan, and have instead asked the ICC if they could play against one of the top teams Australia, South Africa, England or New Zealand.

Pakistan aren’t sure about their match against New Zealand in Bengaluru on November 5. But as per the internal note, they are more concerned about their matches in Kolkata, one against Bangladesh on October 31 and the other versus England on November 12. The note includes alternative venues Pakistan would prefer playing at.

“We have written to the ICC that we can’t give approval or disapproval to this [World Cup schedule]. It’s our government who has to decide, just like when it comes to India, it’s their government that decides when they go to play,” said Najam Sethi, who stepped down as interim PCB chairman on Monday. 

There has been heavy criticism as the BCCI and ICC have not released the World Cup schedule yet, with the tournament being less than four months away. The BCCI were reportedly hoping to release the schedule on June 27 but the PCB are yet to give their approval to the draft schedule which the ICC had sent to the participating boards. 

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