The International Cricket Council (ICC) has released its schedule for the World Cup 2023 as it revealed the big clash between India and Pakistan on October 15 in Ahmedabad, pushing the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) into emergency and urgent meetings to contemplate on its previous threats of boycotting the mega event if India refused to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.
As per the ICC schedule, a total of at least 48 matches will be played across 12 stadiums while the final will be held at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad on October 19, 2023.
ICC’s announcement comes at a time when ongoing speculations are rumored if Pakistan would be ready to travel to India for the tournament or not, especially after it recently threatened to boycott the event if India refused to travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.
PCB’s interim chief Najam Sethi had agreed to a hybrid model for the Asia Cup with matches being held at neutral venues. However, the sitting PCB Chief Zaka Ashraf, in a recent statement had rejected the hybrid model of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) terming it as “injustice”.
“The first point is that I had rejected the hybrid model for the Asia Cup in the past itself because I do not agree with it. The Asian Cricket Council board had decided that the tournament should be held entirely in Pakistan,” Zaka Ashraf had stated earlier.
Ashraf’s statement was rejected by the ACC as it maintained that it was proposed by PCB and was agreed upon by the ACC, adding that there would be no changes made into the model any further.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan holds great importance to hosting of the Asia Cup as it is due to hold such an event since 2008. Pakistan has been working hard to bring back cricket into the country and showcase it as a guarantee to the safe and secure playing conditions in the country for other cricket playing nations.
Sources with the PCB say that the board is now going to go through rigorous discussions and put all challenges related to the ICC World Cup schedule on the table before it comes out with any statement.
“Zaka Ashraf may not be left with too many options but to agree to send the team to India for the event. However, Pakistan can certainly play its cards as India Pakistan matches are by far the biggest events of any tournament. They attract a huge audience, gather massive revenue and even are accepted to be even bigger than a world cup final,” said Mohammad Yaqoob, a sports expert.
Pakistan and India have had a major rivalry in terms of its bilateral relations, which have shown their effects on the cricketing field as well. Both sides have refrained from playing with each other in respective countries and have also kept each other’s players away from domestic leagues as well.