INDIA’S clash with arch-rivals Pakistan in this year’s ODI World Cup has been brought forward a day to October 14 among eight other fixture changes, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said Wednesday (9).
The world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad will host the hotly anticipated match, originally set for October 15 at the same venue.
Fixtures for the 50-over World Cup were originally published in June after weeks of delays arising from Pakistan’s reluctance to travel to India.
Wednesday’s overhaul of the schedule, less than two months before the tournament begins, came after the Board of Control for Cricket in India said foreign teams had requested changes.
Indian media reports said Ahmedabad officials had raised concerns about their ability to provide adequate security because the match was originally scheduled at the start of a nine-day Hindu religious festival.
Ahmedabad is where Hindu-nationalist Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s political career began and the showdown will take place at the stadium bearing his name.
India and Pakistan are bitter adversaries and only play cricket against each other in multilateral tournaments due to longstanding political tensions.
Pakistan had agreed to visit India after they agreed to jointly host September’s Asia Cup, allowing India to play its matches in Sri Lanka.
But it was only this week that the Pakistan Cricket Board got approval from their government to make the India trip for the 50-over World Cup.
Any match between the south Asian neighbours therefore becomes one of the most-watched events on the global sporting calendar, and any victory is used to promote nationalism at home.
When they do play, cricket fans around the world are glued to their TV screens in a multi-billion-dollar bonanza for broadcasters.
Among the other changes, Pakistan’s match against Sri Lanka has been brought forward by two days and will now be played on October 10.
Australia’s match against South Africa in Lucknow will be played on October 12 instead of the following day.
England will take on Afghanistan in Delhi on October 15, a day after the original date.
New Zealand’s game against Bangladesh, originally scheduled as a day match for October 14 in Chennai, will now be held on October 13 as a day-night contest.
England’s match-up against Bangladesh in Dharamsala has now become a day match after it was originally scheduled to be played under lights.
Tickets for the World Cup will go on sale on August 25, the ICC said.