Marquee Indo-Pak World Cup clash could be rescheduled to Oct 14, fans face logistical nightmare

Hotel and airfares for Ahmedabad skyrocketed after the schedule announcement, and if the game is indeed moved by a day, the ordeal of the fans is likely to worsen.
FILE - India's captain Rohit Sharma shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Babar Azam. (Photo | AFP)
FILE - India's captain Rohit Sharma shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Babar Azam. (Photo | AFP)

NEW DELHI: The blockbuster India-Pakistan contest in the upcoming ODI World Cup could be advanced by a day to October 14 due to the opening day of Navratri celebrations in Ahmedabad, a development which may lead to a logistical nightmare for the fans.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the BCCI had announced the World Cup schedule last month and awarded the marquee clash to the world's largest stadium in Ahmedabad.

The hotel and airfares for Ahmedabad skyrocketed after the schedule announcement, and if the game is indeed moved by a day, the ordeal of the fans is likely to worsen.

"Since October 15 coincides with the opening day of Navratri celebrations, the security agencies have advised that the big game, which will also need heavy deployment of security officials, should be rescheduled," a BCCI source told PTI.

The ICC will need to sit with BCCI to decide on the date change if the need arises. "Further discussion required and we'll advise of any changes, when we can," sources close to the ICC said. 

PTI has learnt that the game will not move out of the Narendra Modi Stadium but the fans will still need to change their travel plans.

With the hotel fares going through the roof, it was reported earlier this month that the passionate fans who will be flying in from all around the world have resorted to booking hospital beds in the city.

India play their opening World Cup game against Australia in Chennai on October 8 while Pakistan's first two games have been scheduled in Hyderabad on October 6 and October 12.

Advancing the Indo-Pak game by a day might also impact the Babar Azam-led side, which will get a day less to prepare for the high-profile clash.

BCCI calls meeting on July 27 to take stock of World Cup preparations

The BCCI has called the state associations hosting World Cup matches for a meeting in New Delhi on Friday to take stock of the preparations. The board will also discuss the possible date change of the India-Pakistan game in the meeting. "The meeting has been called to assess the preparations for the World Cup," a state unit official told PTI.

On Wednesday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah wrote to the state associations on the formation of a Working Group for the World Cup. The five office-bearers of the BCCI, including Shah and BCCI president Roger Binny, will oversee the preparations of all the venues, including the warm-up ones in Trivandrum and Guwahati.

The office-bearers will also be part of the infrastructure and subsidy committee which will include IPL chairman Arun Dhumal, former BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, former Apex Council member Prabhtej Bhatia and KSCA secretary A Shankar.

"We anticipate that these sub-committees will work diligently towards achieving our shared goals and objectives. Together, we can make the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 a resounding success and further elevate the standards of infrastructure and development in Indian cricket," said Shah in the letter.

The World Cup will run from October 5 to November 19 across 10 venues, including Delhi, Dharamsala, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Chennai and Kolkata.

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