‘Backup venue being mulled if Pakistan not allowed to play at Ahmedabad Stadium’

This photograph taken on February 23, 2021 shows fogging under way at the stadium in Motera on the outskirts of Ahmedabad ahead of the India-England match. — AFP

The venue for Pakistan-India World Cup faceoff could be changed if the former are not allowed to play against rivals in Ahmedabad, Indian journalist Vikrant Gupta revealed on Wednesday.

Pakistan are scheduled to play against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 15, however, the venue could be changed due to the political tensions between the two countries.

“If Pakistan government does not allow Pakistan to play against India at Ahmedabad, then Chennai will be used as a backup option,” said Gupta on Aaj Tak TV channel.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has shown constant reluctance in playing in Ahmedabad due to security concerns. Former PCB management committee chairman Najam Sethi even made it clear to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that Pakistan will not play at Narendra Modi stadium unless it’s a final.

However, despite all the concerns shared by the PCB, the ICC announced the schedule for this year’s World Cup in India on Tuesday (June 26).

Pakistan’s first two matches in the event will be against qualifiers on October 6 and 12, respectively.

The Men in Green will face arch-rivals India on October 15 in Ahmedabad.

Here is Pakistan’s schedule for the ICC World Cup 2023:

October 6 – vs Qualifier 1 in Hyderabad

October 12 – vs Qualifier 2 in Hyderabad

October 15 – vs India in Ahmedabad

October 20 – vs Australia in Bengaluru

October 23 – vs Afghanistan in Chennai

October 27 – vs South Africa in Chennai

October 31 – vs Bangladesh in Kolkata

November 4 – vs New Zealand Bengaluru (Day match)

November 12 – vs England in Kolkata

The day matches which will start at 10:00am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) while all other matches will be day-night fixtures starting at 01:30pm (PST).

Eight teams have qualified for the event through the Cricket World Cup Super League while the final two spots will be taken by the finalists of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier taking place in Zimbabwe.

If the West Indies qualify, they will be in Q1 irrespective of where they finish in the Qualifiers.

If Sri Lanka qualify, they will be in Q2 irrespective of where they finish in the Qualifiers.

If Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata.

If India qualify for the semifinals, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.

The tournament will be played in the round-robin format with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches.

The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals, which will be held in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. The semi-finals and the final will have reserve days.

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